Copper thieves target Habitat home built for disabled veteran
December 29, 2011
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A house for a disabled veteran, built by veterans is a shining example of humanity.
After a year of hard work and grueling fundraising, volunteers had finally put the finishing touches on the place, with a brand new boiler and all the trimmings, when the thieves severed pipes, busted out a window and left holes in the drywall.
"We have a homeowner who is in a wheelchair. He desperately needs to live close to the VA hospital and this was going to be his home in what we thought would be no more than two weeks,” said Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Suzanne Williams.
Construction Manager Michael Brownfield said, "They took a big rock and threw it through the window and literally busted out the window. It made a lot of noise. I mean they weren't quiet about it."
The brazen thieves caused as much as $10,000 in damage, trying to dig out whatever copper piping they could find.
This has happened at Habitat homes before, so the organization started using Pex piping instead of copper to cut down on thefts, which means the people who broke in, only got away with about $100 worth of copper, that's used in the heating devices.
For that $100 in copper, the boiler now has to be replaced, along with piping, the wall and a window. The disabled veteran who needs to get closer to the hospital will have to wait even longer to move in.
"We go forward. We pick up the pieces. We clean up the mess and we finish building this house and get this veteran here where he needs to be, so he can get the services he needs,” Williams said.
Syracuse Police say dozens of homes are hit by copper thieves every month. Tighter regulations at scrap yards in the county are helping curb the problem. CLICK HERE
to find out how you can help Habitat for Humanity fix the veteran’s home.