Thieves Targeting Vacant Homes for Copper - WSET.com - ABC13

Thieves Targeting Vacant Homes for Copper

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Reporter: Dhomonique Ricks l Videographer: Jemon Haskins

Campbell Co., VA - In this real-estate market it is hard enough to sell a house. Now imagine if thieves go into your vacant home and steal the copper. It is happening in Campbell County. They are targeting vacant homes; houses on the market, summer homes and old farm houses. Investigators say eight have been hit in the Sugar Hill and Red House communities in the last few months. Thieves are going to great lengths to strip the homes.

"The whole length, every room, the whole ceiling was pulled out," said Laura Ann Broggin.

Broggin was trying to sell her mobile home, until thieves got in the way.

"We went outside and looked and they climbed up underneath the trailer and pulled all the copper, the big thick metal piping from underneath the trailer," said Broggin.

Now she has nothing left to sell.

"There's no repairing it," said Broggin.

Broggin's story is one of many. The Campbell County Sheriff's Office says thieves are cutting copper pipes and stripping wiring from ceilings and walls. And they are going about it, any way possible.

"Tear holes in the sheet rock," said Investigator Brandon Epperson.

Officials say it is not a quick process.  The type of work seen at these homes, takes hours. And according to officials, they are not making off with a whole lot in the end.

"Less than a 100 dollars, but unfortunately in some of these cases, the property owners have had damage of upwards of 8,000, 9,000 dollars of damage to their property," said Epperson.

Officials say some of the property owners live as far away as New York and New Jersey. Whether it ends up costing them a couple hundred dollars or a couple thousand, Broggin says it's unfair and unfortunate.

"We work really hard for what we have," said Broggin.

One arrest has been made in these copper thefts. Investigators say Matthew Mahunik, 19, of Campbell County was involved in at least four of these break-ins. They are still looking for other suspects. If you have any information, call the sheriff's office.

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