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Watch out for copper thieves

February 16, 2011 - Oakland County Sheriff's deputies are looking for groups of thieves stealing copper piping, usually after breaking into unoccupied buildings. In the past three months, deputies throughout the county have taken 45 reports of stolen copper, including 13 in Springfield Township.

In January, detectives from the Sheriffs' Springfield Township substation arrested and charged two men and two women from the Pontiac, Detroit area with breaking into foreclosed houses and stealing copper. One of the men had a ring of keys for lockboxes.

The thefts usually occur in basements where copper is ripped out of the walls and sold at local scrap yards. Copper can be sold for around $3 per pound, depending on the quality.

The Sheriff's Office encourages everyone to watch for suspicious people or vehicles in their neighborhoods, especially if unoccupied houses are nearby. If someone sees anything suspicious around an unoccupied house, call 911.

"You are in the best position to know when something is out of place," said Sheriff Mike Bouchard. "Pillaging these homes is bad for the whole neighborhood."

If anyone has information regarding these thefts, they are asked to call 1-888-TURN-1-IN.

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