Copper Thieves Target Flood-Damaged Homes

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WEST PITTSTON -- Police said, copper thieves were once again targeting flood-damaged homes in West Pittston.

Pipe after pipe after pipe, missing from a woman's home along Race Street in West Pittston. She did not want to be identified, but spoke with Newswatch 16.

"You could hear them trying to force their way in and it didn't work so the next thing I heard about a minute later was a huge crash," the woman told Newswatch 16.

The woman who lives there said when the men couldn't get through the front door, they went around and kicked in her basement window to get to those copper pipes.

Police said the two men were not able to get into the house, but the woman believed it wasn't the first time they tried.

"When I looked around, I started investigating. I saw that a lot of my copper piping had been removed," said the woman.

West Pittston Police said the house was one of two flood-damaged homes that have had their pipes stolen a week. The other house was a vacant home on Delaware Avenue.

"See, it's hard to determine what's what and who stole what because it all looks the same," Said Joe Ruzzel, owner of Russell's Hauling and Recycling.

Russell has helped police make several copper theft arrests.

"It happens everyday. I'm seeing it everyday. I'm getting phone calls from police departments everyday," said Russell.

Russell said a pound of copper sells for about $3.00, and most bring in 10 to 40 pounds. That's copper that victims would have to replace for much more money.

"A little bit scary that people would break in to your house and that nobody notices if you're gone during the day, that they can spend a significant amount of time in your home," said the homeowner.

West Pittston Police were looking for one or two men driving a blue van and blue PT Cruiser.

Anyone with information on the stolen copper is asked to call police.