Copper Thieves Keeping Region 8 Law Enforcement Officials Busy

PARAGOULD, AR -- The theft of copper pipes and wiring in Region 8 is getting more common.  Officers say they work on cases of theft on a weekly basis.

"It's been an every week ordeal where we've had multiple occurrences of scrapping going on in the county," said Bruce Drape.

At Hummelstein Recycling they have a constant line of people wanting to sell their scrap metals.

"We have copper several times a day.  I'd say 50 or 60 times a day we have some form of copper coming in," said Larry Hall.

Finding the perpetrators can often be a grueling process for authorities.

"It's time consuming because its harder to track than merchandise because it doesn't have serial numbers on it," said Drape.

When anyone tries to sell copper they are highly scrutinized.

"We try to screen the customers that come through.  If we have one that seems suspicious we question that one particular customer more than we do others," said Hall.

Arkansas law requires the full name, driver's license number, physical address, and vehicle license tag of anyone who tries to sell copper or other metals at scrap metal businesses.

Common targets for copper thieves are power ground wires, rail way wires, plumbing pipes in new construction, tubing from air conditioner units, and wiring from houses.