If it Ain’t Nailed Down…

Monday, June 25, 2007
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If you don’t think this is funny, you don’t have a sense of humor…..I do know that all over the country copper is being stolen, however, it’s a very rampant “sport” in Detroit. Another story reads, “That day, a crew from the utility found a man lying dead next to a pole in Detroit, apparently having been electrocuted while attempting to cut live power wires, said a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department.”

Several thieves have been killed in Detroit trying to steal the copper from electric lines – in 2006, and thus far this year. DTE Energy – Detroit Edison – is offering rewards for the capture of the guilty thugs.

The thugs don’t stop at electrical lines. See these two photos of Detroit’s architectural gem, the Lee Plaza, before and after the stripfest (the photo changes automatically). The roof has been 100% stripped of its copper. Last year, Detroit’s famous Kronk gym closed down when someone stole the copper water pipes, cutting off the gym’s water supply. Steven Levitt says that the price of copper rose 56% in 2006. The big thing now is stealing air conditioners.

Residential air-conditioning units in particular are becoming popular with thieves. The copper insides of a condensing unit — the portion of a central-air system that sits outside — can fetch $50 to $150 at a scrapyard, while replacing an entire unit that’s been plundered can cost $2,000 or more. That’s what happened with the unit that was gutted at Mr. Fick and Ms. Vreeman’s rental home. The thieves probably “didn’t even get the market value for it,” says the house’s owner, John Beeler. “I would have preferred if they had just knocked on my door and asked for $100.”

So yesterday, I had a couple of guys over fixing my air conditioning. They were telling me that they are doing a number of jobs in the city (Detroit) because air conditioners – whole units – are disappearing right and left. They said it’s big business for them because people can’t keep their air conditioners in the city. He said they just pull ‘em up and walk away with them.

Nor do they stop at copper. Masonry is being stripped off of buildings in Detroit, as well. Casement windows disappear as well as architectural trimmings. Gotta love that urban pride.

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