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Scrap Metal Thefts Concern ChCh Police

Scrap Metal Thefts

New Zealand Police Canterbury News Release

29 July 2008

Christchurch Police are concerned at the alarming increase in the theft of scrap metals from business and domestic premises across the city.

Detective Sergeant Don Fisher says churches, public buildings and houses, often rental properties, are being targeted for hot water cylinders, copper guttering and down pipes.

"Thieves can cause a lot of damage to properties when they strip these items out with water left flowing inside and out," he says. "New houses under construction are being targeted for the new cable and any wiring lying around as the tradesmen work. Again these thefts cause a lot of damage and delays in building."

DS Fisher says police recently recovered $12000 of new cable which had been stripped but could only be sold for scrap value of about $1000.

"The damage caused often far outweighs the value of the property stolen," he says.

Car batteries are also a target for the lead they contain. Car radiators and batteries are going from vehicles in wreckers' yards and parked on the road side.

Several offenders have been arrested recently and several thousands of dollars of stolen property recovered.

Detective Sergeant Fisher says that the public needs to be vigilant.

"Don't leave items lying around where they can be easily seen and if you see a vehicle hanging around a building site, especially after hours, please note the car registration or call police if you are concerned. Contractors and builders need to take care they don't leave temptation in the way of thieves and secure the building site as soon as they can."

Meetings with scrap merchants are scheduled so they and police can work more closely and effectively together.

"We are working very closely with scrap metal dealers as we do with all second hand dealers and pawn brokers in an effort to identify and prosecute persons selling stolen property. Police are also advising scrap metal dealers on safety aspects in respect to their premises and staff.

Dealers themselves have been the victims of burglaries, aggravated robberies and once, in 1996, one of their own was murdered in his own yard," he says. This investigation remains unresolved but still open!


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