Local Business Robbed For Scrap Metal

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It's a growing problem in Mid-Michigan. Close to 100 cases of copper and aluminum thefts in Lansing alone this past year. One of those victims was Steve Loveall.

"At first we noticed it (the office) was getting warmer," he said. "We thought perhaps the electricity went out."

But that wasn't the case. So Loveall and other employees took a look around.

"Upon exploring we noticed half of our air conditioner parts in the yard. From there, we noticed they were all missing."

Three air conditioning units each weighing hundreds of pounds, had been ripped from the exterior of the building. Thieves had cut the electricity before taking out the aluminum and copper to sell at scrap yards.

"They were pretty knowledgeable," Loveall said. "I imagine they were in and out pretty quickly."

Each system retails for about three $3,000 and contains about $200 worth of scrap metal.

"We've seen an increase in these thefts because the price of copper has tripled in the past year," said Sergeant Matthew Flint of the Ingham County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Flint says it's a fairly easy crime and the most vulnerable places are empty homes and construction sites. Adding to the problem is most scrap yards give cash for the metal.

We checked out a local scrap yard and asked about their policy. Officials with Friedland Industries declined an on-camera interview for insurance reasons but say they ID everyone who comes through and contact the police if anything appears suspicious.

While it's a problem that could get worse before it gets better, Sgt. Flint encourages everyone to be on the look out.

"If you see a vehicle that looks out of place and people looking around homes, they could be stealing scrap."

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