The value of copper is on the rise, which means so are copper thefts.
Lakewood police are investigating a string of copper thefts around the city during the past several weeks.
There were six reported copper thefts — mostly from vacant homes — in January. And there have already been a few this month.
It could be a crime of opportunity, committed by several thieves — or it could be a trend, said police chief Timothy Malley.
“They could be the same person,” he said. “We are working some leads on one of the cases.”
Malley said that nearly all of the homes involved were vacant.
“Fortunately we have less of a market with less vacant homes than several years ago,” he added, noting that the value of copper is on the rise.
On of the homes victimized by theft was struck by thieves twice —
“copper pipes one day and a stained glass window the next,” said Malley.
He said neighbors of vacant homes should keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
“Lights not usually on, windows open, doors broken, people coming and going that aren’t normally around the home, should be reported to us,” Malley said.
This isn’t the first rash of copper thefts in Lakewood.
Two years ago, James Dina, of Cleveland, was arrested and later sent to prison for a string of copper thefts.
He admitted stealing copper downspouts from seven Lakewood churches, as well as Lakewood High School. There were also a number of cases against him in Cleveland and Solon.
Dina was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.