New Copper Theft
It's a nation-wide problem, and North Central Florida is no different.
But with new state laws governing how copper recyclers go about doing their business, the hope is it will put copper thieves out of business.
The doors to the Red Cross are always open. But today, they are spread wide for a very different reason. The air- conditioning is out, and not because the charity is trying to save a couple bucks... a thief stole about 10 feet of copper wiring from the air- conditioner outside.
"It's been pretty hot, but we're putting up some box fans, we're the red cross, we're going to persevere through it and we've been in worse situations."
Today, the fan on the floor is almost as important to getting work done as the computer on the desk.
Mager thinks the thief stole the wiring Monday night... the same time as one of the volunteer's cars in the parking lot was broken into.
The landlord will be picking up the tab fix the a-c unit at an estimated cost just under 1000- dollars, but Mager says the costs will eventually be passed onto the charity.
And the Red Cross is not the first charity to be hit by criminals.
"There are a lot of non-profits and charity organizations in town that do a lot of good work and we do that with very strapped financial budgets."
As more people bring in copper and other materials to be recycled for cold, hard cash, new state laws make it more difficult for copper thieves.
Recycling companies are required to get more detailed records of the seller, including name, address, fingerprint, and a vehicle description and of the metal, including weight and description.
"Hopefully the new statutes will help us start to get a handle on this stuff and a handle on the people, lead us to the people who are unlawfully taking the materials and pawning them."
"The law is great and it's going to protect us for one end,b ut it really comes down to protecting yourself as well. So we're going to make certain that we take the protective measures so that this doesn't happen to us again."
What also could help is decreasing prices of the copper itself. one Alachua County recycler told me it's currently going for about two dollars and 30 cents a pound. that's down about 30 to 40 cents for highs earlier this year.
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