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Mar 16, 2010 5:00 PM by Veronica White

Copper Thefts Up as Prices Skyrocket

A string of copper thefts have targeted several businesses, churches and schools in Lafayette.
Seven locations have been hit by thieves in recent weeks, who have taken copper from air-conditioning units.

Those who deal with copper say this is due to the the value of the metal-- it has skyrocketed since last summer.

"It's about a 40% increase and we're going to get another 10 to 15 percent increase shortly... because of supply and demand." says Kenneth Begnaud from Colburn Supply Company, which sells metals.

He says copper goes for up to $2.50 a pound, depending on the quality.

The people affected want to know how theives can get away with their copper and where they could be taking it.

Louisiana passed a law three years ago to discourage copper thefts. It requires scrap metal merchants to keep electronic records of their purchases and for sellers to have proof of identification.

For many businesses now paying for pricey repairs, that law is not doing enough.

"They have no conscience whatsoever, stealing from the church and the school. It makes it very incovenient for us to have our normal operations," says IHM School Principal Thomas Brown.

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