A worldwide surge in stealing copper pipes, fittings, and wiring has hit the Washington, D.C., area, reports the Washington Post. The incidence of the thefts often rises with copper’s price per pound, which has rebounded sharply in the past year to nearly $3. On Thursday, police were told that a thief had filched the copper roof of a bus shelter in northern Virginia. The same day, “a large quantity” of wire was reported stolen from an electric company storage yard and a substation operated by the same company.
Copper thefts declined last year as prices fell to about $1.30 per pound in late December. Now, in accounts from Australia to Atlanta and Canada to Cape Town, South Africa, officials say copper thieves appear increasingly active.