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MCP Warns Residents of Increase in Copper Thefts - Vacant Homes Targeted

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Since June, the 3rd District has been investigating several incidents of copper being stolen during commercial and residential burglaries.  Vacant homes, especially homes for sale, have been most commonly targeted.  Homes that are for sale and unoccupied are the most common targets of copper thefts as there is oftentimes no one checking on the property regularly.

While the 3rd District has seen an increase in the number of copper thefts recently, copper theft is a problem that occurs throughout Montgomery County.  The police department is alerting citizens of this trend and is offering the following prevention tips:

When placing your home up for sale or allowing a real estate company to manage the property as a rental property:

  • Keep the yard mowed and prevent the accumulation of newspapers.  Ensure that the home still looks "lived-in".
  • Leave drapes on the window, and place a couple of lamps on timers in the home.  Do not allow the home to look vacant.
  • Leave lights on outside the home.
  • Ask neighbors to note if any exterior lights burn out.  Notify the real estate agent immediately.  Some burglars will disable a light on the side or to the rear of a home to see if and how fast it is repaired - this will let the burglar know if the house is being monitored.
  • Ask neighbors to pay attention to vehicles coming and going from the house.  Ask the neighbors to park one of their vehicles in front of the house or in the driveway.
  • Ensure that the real estate agent keeps a log of prospective buyers who tour the home.  A copper thief may pose as a buyer to examine the basement for the amount and quality of copper piping.
It is not always homes that are for sale that are targeted by copper thieves.  Occupied homes can also be targeted, and residents are asked to contact police if:

  • you notice that your copper gutters or downspouts have been tampered with or stolen.
  • you notice that the copper gutters or downspouts have been tampered with or removed from a neighbor's home.
At any time, if you notice suspicious activity or people near your home, your neighbor's home, or a vacant home, please contact the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.

JMS

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Release ID: 13-372
Media Contact: mcpnews 
Categories: press-releases