Copper Theft Victims Say Recycling Centers Should Help Catch Thieves

Steve Perry
Steve Perry

By Stephen Florino

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Recycling centers taking in copper should do more to make sure they are not accepting stolen property. That comes from a property manager and company owner, the latest victims of this growing crime.

"They are brazen, they know what they're doing, and somebody's buying the stuff from them, otherwise they wouldn't be coming back," said Rolf Christ, owner of R and R Solar Supply center in Kalihi, a business that got hit by copper thieves over the weekend.

Christ says thieves took about 500 feet of copper wire from the supply box, cutting off electricity.

Last week, the business next door was hit twice. The first time, the thieves just cut the wires from the utility pole to the box. The second night, they ripped out several hundred feet of copper wire.

"I know this is not the safest part of town, and we have graffiti going on," said Rolf. "But I didn't expect anyone to cut live wires just for the value of the wire. That's crazy."

R and R manufactures solar panels. Thieves took a digital camera and tools. But they left about 6,000 pounds of copper tubing.

A Waianae property manager says he was a victim because thieves knew the house was an easy target.

Steve Perry believes that someone used a meat cleaver to cut the wires from this electrical box. He found the knife on one of the rafters underneath the house.

"I'm surprised they didn't go inside the house and cut off all the plugs off the refrigerator and the stove and stuff," said Perry.

Copper wires were missing, as well as several feet of copper tubing from the water heater. Perry says it was an easy hit for the theives, because the house was vacant, with a for rent sign out front.

"If you're a homeowner, and you're gonna rent your property, and you put a for rent sign out, and it's known the property is vacant, it could be subject to this kind of looting," warned Perry.

He estimates it'll cost $20,000 to replace the wiring and plumbing systems.

Perry filed a police report, but he doesn't expect anyone to be arrested.