According to Capt. Richard Ferrone, ten thefts have been reported since July 18 and the thieves appear to be targeting homes that appear to be vacant.
“Most have had for sale signs on the lawn,” Ferrone said in a statement. “Some have been vacant overnight, others weeks.”
Ferrone said it is believed that the burglaries happen in the pre-dawn hours where forced entry into the residence can be covered up by darkness and the sound of air conditioners running.
“Once inside, work to remove the pipe quickly focuses to the lower floors,” Ferrone said.
According to Ferrone, theft of copper pipes, tubing, and wiring has been on the rise in recent years due to the increased value for scrap copper and the US Department of Energy estimates that this once minor problem has exploded into $1 billion a year nightmare.
“Construction sites, abandoned buildings, and commercial heating and air conditioning units have been the biggest targets for these thieves,” Ferrone said. “More often than not the damage caused obtaining the copper vastly exceeds the value of the copper, but this does not deter the thieves.”
Ferrone said the Morris Township Police are asking residents to remain vigilant as the incidents focus on residential neighborhoods.
“As the weather cools and windows stay open at night it is hoped that a resident will hear or see something when the crime is being committed,” Ferrone said. “If there is a vacant home near them or if they are aware of a neighbor who is away, residents should make note of any suspicious activity day or night and call the police immediately.”
Anyone with information on these incidents or who may have seen anything suspicious in the area is asked to contact the Morris Township Detective Bureau at 973-326-7480.