Copper thieves strike 30 sites in recent weeks

-A A +A

POLICE: $50 security light could prevent theft of a $5,000 A/C unit

By Tracy Harris

Local police continue the search for copper crooks as thefts continue, approaching at least 30 incidents in Oldham County since Aug. 1.

“It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Detective Chris Morris. 

Most recently units were stolen from St. James Episcopal Church in Pewee Valley and in La Grange along Commerce Parkway. At St. James, eight units were dismantled overnight last Wednesday.

Morris said OCPD is “in full force” during night hours, conducting searches and stakeouts trying to apprehend the thieves, who he believes are part of a group targeting Oldham, Jefferson and Shelby counties. 

The department needs help from residents, who Morris encourages to call the police if they hear or see anything out of the ordinary. In fact, when several units were destroyed last week at a Buckner strip mall, Morris said an employee was working late in the building and heard a noise, but didn’t think to report it.

If the thieves cut the power lines to the air conditioner, that can cause a big boom, he said — and don’t assume it’s just a tree falling down.

Morris said residents can protect themselves from theft and help capture the criminals by installing motion-sensor lights. The lights will not only deter thieves, but also alert police to possible thefts. While patrolling or staking out an area, the lights will let officers know exactly where thieves may be.

If replacing your entire A/C system costs $5,000, Morris figured, a $50 light is a good investment.

Audible alarms can also be installed by several local HVAC companies, Morris said. 

Those alarms probably saved a Blue Bell ice cream facility on Commerce Parkway, where surrounding units were all stripped of copper. But, while the alarm system appeared to be tampered with, Blue Bell’s A/C units stayed up and running.

Morris said police continue working closely with area scrap yards, although with a dozen facilities in a four-county area, it’s tough. Police continue to receive alerts from scrapyards when suspicious loads arrive, and run names through scrapyard companies as they have them.

Police continue their search, Morris said, and ask anything unusual be reported to the police immediately. Dispatch can be reached at (502) 222-0111, although emergencies should always call 911.