Brewer police ask public to help thwart copper thieves

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Posted May 08, 2013, at 9:07 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Brewer police are asking the public to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around vacant and abandoned homes and business in the wake of a rash of burglaries in which copper was taken.

Copper thieves often target abandoned properties and remove the copper pipes and wires and sell the material to metal recyclers and scrap yards, Brewer police Detective Sgt. Jay Munson said Wednesday during a news conference at the Brewer Police Department.

Once the copper has been removed from the property, it is very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the material in question has been stolen, which makes prosecuting copper thieves very difficult, Munson noted.

To that end, Munson asked the public to call 911 to report suspicious activity in and around vacant and abandoned properties, including strangers walking down the street and looking in houses or garages or loitering in the area.

Residents also should call 911 if they see people or vehicles at vacant properties and if they notice vehicles carrying unfamiliar people circling the block, he said.

The public is asked to call Brewer police at 989-7003 to report any vacant properties that are not secure. This includes buildings with open or broken windows or open doors.

Residents should alert their neighbors to the problem and watch out for each other, Munson said, adding that most burglars who are caught in the act are caught because a neighbor reported seeing something suspicious.

For more information about burglary or theft prevention, contact the Brewer Criminal Investigation Division at 989-7003.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/05/08/news/bangor/brewer-police-ask-public-to-help-thwart-copper-thieves/ printed on April 16, 2014