Skip to comments.Arrest made in copper thefts from vacant houses for sale
Posted on 02/11/2011 10:46:07 PM PST by buccaneer81
Arrest made in copper thefts from vacant houses for sale As many as two-dozen homes hit in or near Reynoldsburg Friday, February 11, 2011 09:40 PM By Jim Woods The Columbus Dispatch
He would make his move during the early-morning hours, seeking empty houses with "For Sale" signs on the front lawn.
After forcing his way inside, he'd head for the basement and tear out as much copper pipe as he could carry.
Reynoldsburg police think that thief is Timothy R. Harrington, 30, of 7042 Retton Rd. in Reynoldsburg. They have charged him with one count of breaking and entering, and he was in the Franklin County jail tonight.
Police say Harrington was caught in the act on Feb. 4 and is suspected of breaking into as many as 25 vacant homes that were up for sale in and near the Columbus suburb. Copper pipes were taken in all the break-ins. The police division is putting together evidence for a Franklin County grand jury, detective Mike Binder said. Story continues below Advertisement
Harrington sold copper to Columbus-area scrap yards for around $3 a pound, Binder said. "He was selling an abnormal amount of copper," much more than somebody such as a plumber would legitimately harvest.
Thefts from homes for sale are a problem across central Ohio, said Marque Bressler, director of communications for the Columbus Board of Realtors. "Vacant properties are particularly susceptible."
When Reynoldsburg detectives received a tip that Harrington might be the burglar hitting Reynoldsburg homes, they sought a court order from Judge Harland Hale of the Franklin County Municipal Court to put a GPS on Harrington's car.
They followed him on Feb. 4 after he left his house at 3:21 a.m. He went to a vacant home on Riverton Road, just west of Reynoldsburg, and police officers surrounded it after seeing that a back door had been forced open.
Within minutes, Harrington walked into the backyard, carrying a green bag containing a flashlight, hammer and bolt cutters. Police found evidence that he had attempted to cut copper piping out of the house, a search warrant says.
After Harrington's arrest, police found receipts from a metal recycler and a small piece of copper wire in his car. In his home, they found power tools and tubs with copper and metal shavings.
Rick Benjamin, president of the Columbus Board of Realtors, said that people need to adopt creative strategies to make vacant homes appear occupied.
"These are strange times," Benjamin said. "These strange times call for unique solutions."
"When Reynoldsburg detectives received a tip that Harrington might be the burglar hitting Reynoldsburg homes, they sought a court order from Judge Harland Hale of the Franklin County Municipal Court to put a GPS on Harrington's car."
I have a problem with the GPS as well but at least they had to have a Judge to allow it.
Knowing our Judges around the area, I’m guessing that they had a lot more evidence on this fellow than just the “tip.” For instance, verified multiple sales of copper that fit the timeline with recent burglaries.
Antiquated building codes and plumbers unions. There’s no need for copper pipe in houses when better, quicker, cheaper plastic supply pipes are available. Used in Europe , aircraft, boats for over 15 years. Cheaper, faster, better.......not approved by time card punching government building inspector flunkies.
That has been legal for a long long time.
Not unusual these days. Glad one was caught, but probably ten other thieves are happy he’s out of the way too. Here they try to steal gas piping also, and I assume leave the building when the gas odor is too strong or when there’s too much water to wade through.
Quite true — as it is also legal for the owner of a car who finds one of these bugs to detach and destroy it.
How about laying in waiting with a 12 gauge Mossberg? One thing's for certain, after a meeting with buckshot, he wouldn't be stealing copper any more.
Copper as gas piping is really antiquated. History has proven that impurities in gas eventually eat through copper, and if used underground can lead to having to dig up yards to replace the lines. Black iron, now used for gas, is hardly worth the trouble to carry it.
This is the first I've ever heard of any law enforcement agency using this technology for surveilance
“Antiquated building codes and plumbers unions. Theres no need for copper pipe in houses when better, quicker, cheaper plastic supply pipes are available. Used in Europe , aircraft, boats for over 15 years. Cheaper, faster, better.......not approved by time card punching government building inspector flunkies.”
I don’t know about other parts of the country, but here in Texas you will NOT find a new house with copper plumbing.
In any case, we have having wiring to deal with, and Aluminum was a disaster several decades ago.
And then we still have air conditioner units, with their thick freon lines - maybe there are options there, but you’ll find the Ozone Layer police on case if you make one wrong move.
Exactly. Major disappointment when they get to the scrap metal yard.
I hope you get a judge who’s tough on crime. Most of the time FCMC is so busy shaking down the innocent that they let crooks like your copper thief slide right by. Good luck.
We don’t deal with theft nearly harshly enough in this country. 25 years sounds about right for these crimes to me.
If I found one I'd attach it to the underbody of a long haul trucking rig.......