Copper theft shuts down restaurant

May 24, 2011 4:41:17 PM PDT
The search continues for copper thieves, targeting several businesses in Montgomery County. We're hearing from a restaurant owner who has lost business because of the thieves.

Outside Big Daddy O's restaurant, there's a sign reading "Due to vandalism we're closed." Copper thieves, the owner says, are to blame.

This crew at Big Daddy O's restaurant in Pinehurst is cleaning up the huge mess left after thieves ripped off some copper wire.

"They broke the pipe about four foot up, cut it, and if you notice, you can see where they've attached a vehicle and drug it out," Misty Franklin said.

The seafood restaurant owners, Misty and Josh Franklin, say mysterious crooks cut nearly 1,800 feet of copper between a utility pole and the business' meter, wiping out all power since Saturday night.

"It's very frustrating. We've only been open a year. We're just now getting a clientele set. And now we can't even open the doors," Misty Franklin said.

The copper thieves not only cut electricity here, but they also ruined thousands of dollars worth of fresh seafood.

"We have to get rid of everything in the cooler. I mean it's just devastating. I mean there's $5,000 worth of stuff in the cooler that has to be thrown in the trash," Josh Franklin said.

Big Daddy O's is one of at least five places copper thieves hit in Montgomery County over the weekend.

"It's hard to set a pattern or develop a pattern on what their next target is," Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Lt. David Park said.

Deputies say they don't have many leads but say a majority of the copper thefts are happening at night and on areas that allow the suspects to easily hide.

"Obviously we need the public to be our eyes and ears for us. We need their help," Park said.

It will take a few more days before Big Daddy O's can reopen, and the owners have a strong message for the copper crooks.

"Payback. Payback will get you," Misty Franklin said.

Deputies say they are beefing up patrols around businesses throughout the county, especially at night.

CenterPoint Energy is also looking into these copper thefts.

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