KIDDER TOWNSHIP — Police believe they have the person responsible for stealing copper pipes from several properties in Carbon County.
Erick Rivera, 22, of Lake Harmony is in custody. Police say he stole copper pipe from at least nine homes in private communities Carbon County over the past six months.
Police say Rivera would enter the crawl spaces of homes in Laurel Woods development and Ridgewood Country Estates and remove copper water pipes by cutting them with pruning shears. They say Rivera then sold the copper to a scrap yard in exchange for cash.
Property managers say most of the condos in Ridgewood Country Estates are used as vacation homes and are empty for most of the year. However some residents, including Jean Kline, live there all year.
“I was shocked, because you know nothing ever happens. Lake Harmony is a quiet little town. We never have incidents like this.”
Since Kline heard about the burglary, she says she is being a little more cautious. She even put a lock on her crawl space.
“I’ve been in this house since 2000. I never had anything like that happen. I never had to lock up my crawl space. So I am really surprised.”
Others in the community are also shocked and disheartened by the break-ins.
“I think it’s really sad and really scary. You know, it’s a safe place and I like to think things like that couldn’t happen here, but it could and it’s just scary,” said Tricia Suveg.
Rivera’s charges include nine counts of burglary and criminal trespass. His bail was set at $90,000.
According to court papers, police began to suspect Rivera earlier this month when they noticed his vehicle parked by the Laurel Woods Development in Lake Harmony. They then got receipts from a recycling business in Stroudsburg showing that Rivera had been there several times to turn in copper pipe.