Copper Thefts

When Jeff Thomas came to check on the house he's building, he found quite a surprise.

"We saw where they tried to steal the copper water lines. We looked further; they stole all the electrical lines," Thomas said.

But Thomas is not the only victim. Electrical wires are being stolen from many east Texas construction sites. Thieves strip the copper from the wires and sell them at scrap metal shops.

"As the price increases, you see more demand for it, and more thievery, too," said B & B Metal Shop owner Lynn Bailey.

Thomas said it will cost more him to replace the wires than the thieves probably got for the copper.

"They probably get $25 worth of wire after they strip it and sell it. And it probably cost $5,000 worth of damage," Thomas told us.

Lufkin police have increased patrols at construction sites. Many people think scrap metal shop owners should be more careful when screening the people who are selling to them. But the owners say that's a challenge.

"When people steal, it's hard to do anything unless you can prove that they stole it," Bailey told us.

Lufkin police are doing all they can to fight copper thefts. But many builders and shop owners believe the thefts will continue to rise until the price of copper begins to fall.