Thieves across the country are stealing steel, aluminum, copper and other metals as values soar. Copper is trading for more than $3 a pound, up from 45 cents a pound in 2001. Other metals have seen similar jumps in value.
In Florida, bandits looted hundreds of bronze vases from cemeteries just before Mother's Day. The vases were usually attached to headstones, providing families a place for their bouquets. The South Florida Sun-Sentinal reports that the vases, which cost families $115 to $200 each, could fetch thieves between $6 and $14 each.
Thieves last year stole more than $100,000 worth of copper wire from mines in Ohio, according to WTRF-TV.
Last November, someone stripped a Kansas office building of 100 feet of copper wire, according to Hutchinson News.
KATV in Little Rock said that more than 1,000 reports of metal thefts have been made in the city during the last several months.
In April, more than $400,000 dollars worth of aluminum bleachers were taken from P.C. Campana Park in Lorain, Ohio, according to the Associated Press.
Stealing copper from everywhere
In the past year, thieves have stolen copper water spouts off churches, coils of communications wires, power cables for trolleys and raw copper from the Navy at Pearl Harbor.
The AP reports that authorities attribute at least five deaths to thieves being electrocuted.
The Globe and Mail in Canada reported thieves lifted 30 of Montreal's manhole covers last spring, and that 400 parking meters were yanked from roadsides in Pittsburgh. "Thieves are making off with just about everything they can lay their hands on - copper wiring from homes, aluminum siding, phone booths, fire extinguishers, traffic lights, street signs, ladders and even the kitchen sink," the Globe and Mail reported.
Metal thefts, particularly of copper and aluminum, also have increased in other parts of Kentucky, according to Major Lisa Rudzinski with the Kentucky State Police. Theft-related injuries also have escalated.
Some would-be bandits were electrocuted when they climbed utility poles trying to tap into utility wires, Rudzinski said.
Police advise anyone with large amounts of metals to keep them secure and to maintain an accurate inventory. She said the earlier police are notified of a theft, the better chance they have of finding the metal.
The KSP asks anyone who is suspicious of a person with a large amount of metal or who knows any information about a theft to call 1-800-222-5555.