The Real Costs of Copper Theft

The Real Costs of Copper Theft

Copper is worth a little over three dollars a pound, and while that may not seem like much, that is very high for this abundant metal. While this may be good for copper miners, it is bad news for homeowners, business owners, and even municipalities because this increased value has led to an increase in copper theft. An average home contains about 400 pounds of copper in the form of wires, pipes, tubes, and appliances. This means if a robber raided your home, you could be out over 1200 dollars in copper (though it would take them days to get every last piece). Unfortunately, the damage that thieves cause in the process of getting the copper often far outweigh the value of the copper itself. This has led the United States Department of Energy to estimate that copper theft causes over one billion dollars in damages annually.

Power Outage

Streetlights are installed to keep city streets safer at night, but where there is electricity there are copper wires. Thieves can break into a single street light and pull hundreds, or even thousands, of feet of copper wire. This is a big haul for a copper thief, and it doesn’t even require breaking into a building. Unfortunately, in the process of taking the wire, thieves often leave many homes without power at all. The city will have to spend a lot of money to get the electricity up and running again as quickly as possible.

Home Damage

Copper wires and pipes in a home are usually located inside of walls. Because thieves are in a hurry and not particularly concerned with the footprint they leave, they can end up causing a lot of damage to a house. Not only will the copper parts need to be replaced, but the walls will need to be patched. If copper parts have been removed from an appliance, it’s possible that the removal also caused irreparable damage, and the entire appliance will need to be replaced, or at the very least repaired.

Cost of Repair and Installation

Thieves are nice enough to handle the removal of the copper for free, but when you call a professional plumber in Bossier City to install the new copper parts, you will be charged. Seeing so much damage for so little payoff is painful, so it is important that individuals and cities start taking steps to deter copper thieves in the future.


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