With copper thieves growing bolder for a few dollars' worth of metal, law enforcement officers told legislators Wednesday they need help stemming the theft of copper from air conditioning units and farm irrigation systems around South Carolina.
Copper theft from homes, churches and farms is the top crime in some rural counties in South Carolina. Officers are so frustrated and overworked, they're willing to accept almost any solution, Jeff Moore, executive director of the South Carolina Sheriff's Association, told a House subcommittee considering one of several measures on the issue.
Recognizing that no legislation will completely stop the crime, he added, "We're trying to put a speed bump on the superhighway."
"This is a huge problem, and people are growing bolder and bolder and bolder," Moore said. "We just need help."
Copper prices soared last year before dipping a bit recently. Recyclers now get roughly $4 per pound, after paying the people who bring it in about $1.50 per pound, he said.