Sioux Falls, SD
A dozen fast food restaurants were recently hit by a thief who wasn't targeting the cash drawers, but the bathrooms.
A thief recently entered the Dairy Queen on East 10th Street and stripped the bathroom of its toilet flusher. The restaurant has replaced the parts, but was left wondering why. Why would someone take a flusher?
"The flushers are made out of a brass. Brass is made out of a component of copper which at the price makes them valuable scrap," TJN Enterprises Operations Manager Kevin Kopsas said.
Kopsas buys and sells scrap metal. He says it’s possible the bathroom thief was looking to cash in on the metals recycling market.
"This is an example of a flusher that comes out of a commercial bathroom. It weighs about four pounds and you'd get about $7 if you try to recycle it," Kopsas said.
While Kopsas has regular customers, he also gets some drive up traffic. But after years in the business, he knows what to look for and when something seems fishy.
"When you have individuals come in out of the blue and all of a sudden they have 25 to 30 of these flushers, it'll raise an eye. We heard it on the news and made our people aware and that's how we helped law enforcement," Kopsas said.
Kopsas says recycling businesses across the country are seeing stolen toilet parts showing up on their lots and as long as the price of copper is high, the thefts may continue.
Grade one copper is currently selling for $2.80 per pound.
As far as the restaurant thefts, Sioux Falls police arrested 33 year old Daniel James Armstrong on two counts of Grand Theft.