Copper theft a problem for Tippecanoe County

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – Copper theft is growing problem in Tippecanoe County.

There were more than 40 reported cases of copper theft in the county last year. Detective Jacob Amberger from the Tippecanoe Sheriff’s office said copper thieves are in it for a quick profit.

“They’ll just pull up and start cutting wires and removing pipes. I think a lot of it is, they just see something and go for it. It’s an immediate resource or thing they see now,” said Amberrger.

Now law enforcement is working with local scrap metal companies to stop thieves before they can sell the copper for a profit.

“We have a pretty good relationship with a lot of the scrap yards in this area. So just a constant contact with them and a good relationship with them,” said Amberger.

Local scrap metal company Oscar Winski takes every step possible to help law enforcement catch copper thieves, including training employees on what to look for in a possible stolen load of copper.

“We make sure we have an accurate description of the vehicle, license plate number, all of those things on file. Everything is video recorded and documented so we have a good accounting of everything that happened,” said Gary Hubbert, a manager at Oscar Winski.

Homes and businesses under construction are major targets, but outdoor lighting and surveillance cameras can help deter copper theft. Amberger said stopping these thieves is as simple as keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.

“Be observant. Make a note of the vehicles you see and the people you see and report it,” said Amberger.

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