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Rash of Copper Thefts Reported in Lakewood

Detectives are looking into whether the thefts are related.

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.

The original Bill February 15, 2013 at 03:26 PM
I don't understand how this is still happening. Scrapyards are required to verify the identity of anybody bringing in scrap. There should be routine visits to these scrap dealers by detectives to see who is turning this copper in.
Jason February 15, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Ah, you foolish man. There will always be corrupt dealers who take this stuff in. How do sociopaths get guns? Same deal.
Patch reader February 16, 2013 at 01:02 AM
How about setting up a bait house? Put in a silent alarm, a few motion activated cameras and have it alert the LPD when anyone enters the house. The PD wants the community to call if they see anything. How about posting flyers on telephone poles offering a nominal reward for information leading to the arrest of one of these thieves? Have it funded by collection jars placed in participating area convenience stores. I'm sure they would appreciate not having thieves shop in their stores.
Colin McEwen February 16, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Not a bad idea, Patch reader. Let's hope that the copper thieves aren't reading this!
The original Bill February 16, 2013 at 04:18 AM
I understand that that but if I know that and you know that why the he** are these scrap dealers not in jail? This should be a simple fix.
Corey Livingston February 18, 2013 at 02:56 PM
You can't rely on the stricter laws, law enforcement, or your neighbors calling these thefts in. Be proactive and prevent it from happening to you in the first place. Check out AirConditionerAlarms.com for more information on the best solution to preventing copper theft.

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