Copper thieves targeting Baytown?

HOUSTON The owner says he's been hit twice in the last six months by the copper thieves, and the latest one sent him back thousands of dollars. A neighboring church also was victimized in the last few weeks.

But copper thieves in the Batyown area are increasing the ante by going after dangerous and potentially deadly copper encased in hot power lines.

Jack Adcox has owned Bridge Water Events for more than six years. His ballroom overlooks the Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown.

Adcox says he'd love to get his hands on the copper thieves who set him back about $20,000.

It started at about 4am on October 14 when two men -- one in camouflage -- showed up to inspect a utility pole a hundred yards from his business.

Adcox says they're experienced.

"For him to have known what to cut over there and not kill power to trip the alarms, everything tells you he's a professional," he said. "You look at his gear, you look at what he did -- the guy's a master electrician somewhere."

The two-man crew eventually brought their single cab Chevy pickup truck with a sunroof and got to work on a set of hot power lines, cutting only the lines that won't set off alarms on the business. One copper thief even put his ear to the door to make sure alarms aren't sounding.

The suspects also noticed they're on surveillance and ended up pulling the camera off the wall -- but not before looking straight into the lens.

They finished the job by cutting at the other end of the lines in a fused box to the business. They got away with about 1,200 feet of copper lines to the frustration of Adcox.

"For these guys to come in here and play with that kind of electricity, they knew what they were doing," he said.

Adcox said he still has power to his business and is offering a $500 reward through the Baytown Police Department for information that leads to the suspects' arrest.

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