One case shows that copper theft

is worse than just stolen metal

     

     It was late at night, May 23, 2014.

     Someone broke into a house on Durango, and began systematically destroying the vacant house being prepared for rental.

     Kitchen cabinets and countertops were pulled from the wall. The sink itself with faucet and the faucets to a clothes washer and to a tub in a bathroom were stolen. Walls were torn apart in three rooms for copper pipes and wires, and they too were stolen.

     Yanked from the furnace was an AC coil and the appliance's AC copper line was ripped from the wall. Both were stolen.

     In the master bathroom, the toilet and vanity were ripped out.

     The total value of items taken: $2,658. The total value of damage done to the house: $10,459.

     Unfortunately, the scene of destruction in the aftermath of this crime was all too typical. It's why the program called Copperstoppers was established.

     Fortunately, latent finger prints were found at the scene of this particular crime and the thief was identified. Anthony Bobo was arrested and admitted his guilt to investigators.     

     Fast-forward one year.

     On May 19, 2015, Bobo pleaded guilty in Shelby County Criminal Court - Division 2 to one count of aggravated burglary, one count of vandalism and one count of theft of property between $1,000 and $10,000. All three are felonies.           

     Bobo received a suspended sentence of four years for each of the offenses and placed on probation. The sentences are concurrent and the terms of his probation are to maintain employment, pay $9,000 in restitution at a rate of $200 per month, submit to and pass random drug screens, and adhere to an 8 p.m. curfew until May, 2016.

 

Much is at stake 

     

     "Copper and other scrap metal theft from homes, churches and other buildings hurts the community in a lot of different ways" says Buddy Chapman, executive director of CrimeStoppers of Memphis and Shelby County.

     Damage to homes and apartments can be severe, he said, with new appliances rendered useless, neighborhood blight made worse, and the city's tax base reduced by one more piece of property.

     Chapman urged that anyone with information about copper theft, or the illegal selling of stolen scrap metal, should call (or text or email from www.crimestopmem.org) a tip to CrimeStoppers, at 528-CASH (2274).

     "It's completely anonymous," he reminded. "No one will ever know your name."
 
CrimeStoppers has moved into new offices on the fourth floor of the Urban Child Institute.

 

If you need to write to us (or send us a donation!), please use this address:


 

CrimeStoppers

600 Jefferson Ave., Suite 451

Memphis, TN 38105

Tips do make the difference

 

     In March of this year, not far from a grade school in north Memphis, thieves stole an air conditioning unit and copper set lines worth about $1,100 from a residence. 

     A few days later, a woman involved in the theft was identified upon selling the stolen items at a scrap yard. She gave police a "statement of admission." When the time came for her to appear in court the following month, however, the woman didn't show. 

     A warrant was issued for her arrest on April 29.

     On May 1 a CrimeStoppers tipster called to say that the woman fugitive was at another address in north Memphis, not far from the site of the theft. She was located by police, arrested and jailed. She faces charges of theft of property and vandalism.   

     The tipster received a cash award.




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