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Jun 2, 2011 7:37 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Copper Thefts Increasing in Acadiana

Copper thefts are on the rise nationwide. Chris Myers has been an electrician in Lafayette for 13 years. He said he's come to job sites many times to find missing wires.

He said, "Since 2008, I've seen it a lot more. Before you could just leave a construction site and wouldn't have to worry about it."

Thieves typically wait until the electricians job is done and then come in during the middle of the night and rip out the wires and take off the copper.

Myers said, "it's depressing. Sometimes it just makes you want to cry, after all that hard work you did and then you have to start all over again."

Officials agree copper thefts are nothing new, but there's been a big increase in the past few months.

Owner of Barry's Air Conditioning, Barry Duplechin said, "now that the price of copper is four times the price that it used to be, it's a little bit more attractive to someone."

Chief Jim Craft with the Lafayette Police Department said, "we've had 31 since the beginning of the year, just in one precinct."

It's not just happening at construction sites, Chief Craft said thieves are stealing copper from air conditioning units outside homes in the middle of the night.

Duplechin said "it's easy to find especially in the summer time because the first thing that happens is it gets hot. We go out to the house and of course the unit has been tampered with."

Law enforcement agencies may not be able to stop copper thefts, but they hope to put a dent in the number of times it's happening.

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