CINCINNATI - Copper thieves caused as much as $250,000 in damage to the old Steve and Barry's store at Glenway Crossing.
Cincinnati police estimate $100,000 worth of copper was stolen out of the building which now sits vacant. A building that used to be home to Hobby Lobby was also targeted.
"We have the highest volume of scrap metal property crime in the city," said Cpt. Russ Neville commander of Cincinnati's District 3.
Thieves penetrated the roof of the building to complete a crime that officers estimate must have taken a few nights to complete.
Now blue tarp can be seen on some buildings covering air conditioning units that have been raided for their scrap metal.
"I would imagine even if they were wanting to rent them out, they probably can't right now because the places inside have been stripped of all their copper and then also the roof units the AC units on the roof have been stolen as well," said Officer Brian Williams who works on metal theft cases.
Williams suggests Price Hill and surrounding neighborhoods have been hit so often by thieves looking for metal to sell to scrap yards that there are fewer and fewer new targets.
Williams says the crimes are so rampant that when talking about houses and buildings hit by copper thieves it would actually be easier to point to the houses that haven't been hit.
Yet, Neville points out that metal theft crimes are down in the district between eight and 10 percent.
"Because of the high volume by number of offenses and the high dollar amounts, we felt we needed to do something in the west side of the city here to try to reduce those offenses," said Neville.
Tuesday, Cincinnati City Council's Public Safety Committee will meet to discus ideas to further curb metal theft crimes.
Some of the ideas include requiring a license and background check for anyone looking to sell scrap metal to a scrap yard. In addition, council members will discus forcing scrap yards to pay customers with a check between two and five days after a transaction.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday night.
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