Copper thieves strike non-profit organizations

August 13, 2010 3:54:50 PM PDT
Some struggling non-profit organizations have been hit hard by copper thieves. Those criminals went looking for a easy few dollars, leaving these community groups with a massive bill. The crimes are especially cruel considering these groups operate to help out the community.

The two non-profit groups are along FM 1960 - Northwest Assistance Ministries and Solid Rock Baptist Church.

This is not a new type of theft, but one that police say has been on the rise this summer, which is leaving many of these organizations in unbearable heat.

The inside of Northwest Assistance Ministries' warehouse on FM 1960 feels as hot as it is outside. That was Randy Boyers' first clue that something was wrong.

"I went on the roof and discovered that three of the units had been gutted. They just took everything out of the interior of the A/C units," said Boyers.

Thieves destroyed half of the A/C units that keep the resale shop running.

"Fortunately they didn't get all of them, or else we'd have to shut down," Boyers said.

He says thieves hooked up a ladder to the back of his building, climbed up, got what they needed and left behind a $40,000 bill for repairs.

"The non-profits especially, even though we have insurance, we don't know exactly how much the insurance company is going to cover for us right now," said Boyers.

They're after one thing - copper. Crooks can resell scraps for between $25 and $100 per A/C unit. The Harris County Sheriff's Office says investigators see $250,000 worth metal thefts every week...

It's a bad return for Boyers, who's now stuck with a big bill and a very hot warehouse.

"We're looking at other means to secure our A/C units because we don't want this to happen again," Boyers said.

Police say this type of theft isn't isolated to any one specific area, but they have seen a lot of it along the FM 1960 corridor.

We worked on this story with our partners at Houston Community Newspapers. You can read more about it in The Humble Observer.


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