Prices for copper and other metals continue to rise, and thieves continue to look for the valuable metal wherever it can be found. In June, one suspected copper thief was shocked at an Ameren substation in Alton while allegedly trying to steal a live wire and eventually died of his injuries. In recent weeks, a church, a school, and a light pole have all been targets in Alton.
In the case of the church, 12th Street Presbyterian, which is closing its doors for good at the end of the month, had its copper gutter downspouts swiped, according to Pastor David Olson.
Alton Police Chief David Hayes says the local scrap buyer has been a friend of law enforcement, so the effort is to get tougher laws on the books throughout the region.
Experts say homeowners can secure items if possible. For larger targets, like air conditioning units, keep the area fenced in and lock any gates. Invest in security.
Start a neighborhood watch, and mark materials, so they can be more easily identified if recovered.