Copper Thieves Hit Hotels

Local Hotel Owner Mike Bhakata
Local Hotel Owner Mike Bhakata
Potter County Sgt. John Coffee
Potter County Sgt. John Coffee

Copper thieves have found a new target to steal metal from hotels. Copper theft remains an epidemic problem in Potter county.

The number of thefts have more than doubled since last year, from commercial to residential property and the newest victim hotels.

Local Hotel owner Mike Bhakata says he was hit once. "Guy just took thermostat. I don't know what there gonna use for that or what. But they just took it and my whole unit is messed up," Bhakata describing one left on his property.

Nothing seems to be safe from thieves, according to Potter County Sgt. John Coffee. Copper thieves are stealing metal from anywhere or anything they can get their hands on and hotels are not immune to thieves.

"They do quiet a bit of damage. How ever the means they get in dismantle electrical boxes and cut water lines so several thousands. As a matter of fact hundreds of thousands of dollars," Sgt. Coffee said.

A cost some business owners can't keep up with once their air conditioning units are damaged.

Manager Bhakata says the unites get expensive, "The average is some where from $400 to $500. Metal piping, wires and air conditioning units are easy to steal and the price adds up.  "Many times when there going after this copper. There getting the money and going buying the drugs. Perpetuating other crimes as well," Sgt. Coffee explains.

Sergeant Coffee says finding copper thieves is not always easy. "It's hard to identify once we've gone in to found the loss a lot of the times its weeks or months after it's happened.

Hotel owners and managers are doing what they can to stay vigilant protecting their property.  Bhakata said, "We use proper ID and we watch at night time so nothing happens".

Other preventative measure businesses and homeowners can take to protect their metals and wiring is.... Locking units up in cages. Also, officers suggest marking copper wires with spray paint to have a way of tagging the copper wires.