Copper thefts on the rise in Harris County

By Laura Ann Sills - email

HARRIS COUNTY, GA (WTVM) -  It is being called a crime of opportunity - stealing copper from empty houses throughout south Harris County.

The Sheriff's office wants to know who is stealing the valuable metal and destroying the heating and cooling units.  Sheriff Mike Jolley said, "We have saturated the area with deputies in the Ellerslie area and south part of Harris County where this activity is taking place."

He knows some people blame the copper buyers for not putting a stop to the thefts, but says those buyers are doing everything they are supposed to.  "They are writing down driver's license and where these people live. So, the only way we are going to stop them is either catch them in the act, which is very difficult, or by a concerned citizen calling in suspicious activity or something that is just out of the ordinary," said Jolley.

He said most of these copper thefts are happening when the house is empty, meaning that this damage can be left unfound for days.  That is why it is going to take the help of the neighbors to catch these thieves.

Jolley said now that it is the time of year to cut your grass, another crime of opportunity is also on the rise.  He warned, "When you get through cutting your grass, put your lawn mower up.  If you leave it out in the front yard, you are probably telling somebody you do not want to cut the grass anymore, 'take my lawn mower.'"

The Sheriff is pleading with residents to be on the lookout, especially if your neighborhood has homes unoccupied due to for sale or foreclosure.

If you see something suspicious, call 911, it is better to be safe, than sorry.

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