Copper Theft: What Jewelers Need to Know to Protect Their Business
Imagine the surprise of a jeweler who, after arriving in the morning to open the business and finding it warm and humid inside, checks the outdoor air-conditioning unit to discover it dismantled and in disarray.
Crime reports indicate that copper, specifically the copper coiling found in exterior HVAC units and other mechanical systems built in both commercial and residential buildings, continues to be an attractive target of criminals looking to cash in on the metal’s scrap value. Crooks are stripping out plumbing, air conditioners, sprinklers, and other mechanical components to gain access to the copper materials found inside these systems.
The average copper theft consists of just a few pounds of scrap copper, valued at a few hundred dollars. The significant loss, however, comes in the form of equipment and/or building destruction as thieves often dismantle mechanical systems and break through walls to access the copper. This can lead to thousands, and even tens of thousands, of dollars in structural damage.
Motion-sensitive alarms, video cameras, proper lighting, and increased vigilance can help protect you from falling victim to this crime. Painting your copper red can also be a deterrent to thieves. Most metal recyclers will not accept copper painted red since they know it is stolen.
Physical barriers preventing easy access to air-conditioning units and other equipment are also a deterrent. Finally, businesses should work with their alarm companies to make sure their premises are protected.