With hard economic times, and a rise in the price of raw materials like copper, the rate of thefts at unattended construction sites is rising.
Tuesday night, Waterbury Heating and Cooling lost thousands of dollars worth of materials and tools during a theft. The company is now offering a reward to get back the valuable possessions.
The price of copper has been steadily rising in recent years. And with an increase on the price tag also comes an increase in theft.
"I assume that people are looking to take it to scrap, being the price of copper. It's very expensive. And the scrap is also very good revenue to take into the junk places," Waterbury Heating and Cooling president Tom Stritecky said.
TJN Recycling in Sioux Falls pays $2.70 per pound of scrap copper.
In the middle of the night, more than $4,000 worth of copper and other construction materials were stolen from a site Waterbury Heating and Cooling was working at in the 69th Street and Louise Avenue area of Sioux Falls.
"Most of the stuff that was taken was fairly loose, laying there. Some of the product was laying there. Also some of the gas line they did pull out of the ground to grab that. But you gotta keep in mind, criminals aren't smart. And they're doing what they can to get money," Stritecky said.
This is the third time a theft like this has happened to Waterbury. They are now turning to social media to get back what was taken.
"We have a $1,000 reward that leads to the conviction of the people that took it, and I'm assuming that somebody knows somebody that was out there," Stritecky said.
Even though the payout for such a crime can be large, there is also a risk many thieves might not consider.
"Typically speaking, the gas line does not have gas in them. However, if they did that would be a danger trying to pull them out. But more importantly, probably on a new home would be pulling the water lines out and having water damage to the home, which is as devastating as a fire or a gas leak," Stritecky said.
If you have any information on this theft, you are asked to call authorities.