Scrap metal thieves use work trucks to steal from construction sites

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said home construction sites like this are being targeting for scrap metal.

Metal prices are expected to rise this month and police are concerned thefts could increase as well.

Channel 9 learned about the hot items being stolen and the trick some thieves are using to go unnoticed.

Lt. Andy Royston said suspects are snatching copper wiring from walls, metal from HVAC units, batteries from vehicles at the at the sites and any other metal that can make money.

Royston said some suspects are even driving work trucks to blend in and go virtually unnoticed by neighbors. Royston says many construction companies take steps to identify they vehicles.

"A lot of our large companies have emblems on them," Royston said.

Royston said neighbors should pay attention to the types of vehicles coming in and out of construction sites and contact them if they see anything suspicious.

Police are also working with construction companies on ways to protect their property, which could also help officers track down who is responsible.

"Help us," Lt. Royston said, "Mark their copper, mark their batteries so that way when we do catch people we can trace it back to where it belongs to that's the best thing."

Last year new state laws went into effect to help crack down on scrap metal thieves and better track stolen property.

Scrap metal dealers have to thoroughly document and photograph transactions. The law also prevents people from selling copper more than twice a day.