Innovative steps to prevent copper thefts

Copper Camoflage

CINCINNATI - Northside residents and contractors remodelling Northside homes are painting copper pipes to prevent theft.

Moeller Construction is in the process of turning an abandoned building into two three story townhomes. Brian Moeller tells 9 News that if they use copper at all they paint it.

"The worse the job market and the economy the more metal theft goes up," said Moeller.

Two manifolds designed to route hot and cold water to different parts of the townhomes were built next to the hot water heaters.  The hot side uses red vinyl tubing and the cold side uses blue.  The copper fittings on each side are painted red and blue and now look very much like plastic.

"These guys will do just about anything to break into a house and take a little bit of copper and go," said Moeller.

Moeller believes the painted pipe hides in plain view and might be overlooked by the time crunched copper thief.

After 2006 and 2007 when Northside saw a huge spike in copper thefts Cincinnati Police asked residents to paint their copper and post signs that they did so.

During a five month period 97 homes participated and only one was broken into and no copper was stolen.

Painted copper can also serve to alert a recycler that the copper could be stolen. 

Moeller says they also advertise to passersby what they are using for pipe.

"This is a cold water line," Moeller said grabbing a piece of vinyl line, "We'll cut off a few pieces and we'll leave it around outside so these guys walking by can see that we're not using copper."

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