Hundreds worth of copper stolen from PHS

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Police Department is investigating a $680 copper theft report from the new wing construction area at Pelham High School.

According to police department records, 80 feet of seven-eights-inch copper tubing valued at $250, 60 feet of three-fourths-inch copper tubing valued at $180, 60 feet of half-inch copper tubing valued at $100, 40 feet of three-eights-inch copper tubing valued at $50 and 20 feet of 1 1/8-inch copper tubing valued at $100 were stolen from the school’s construction site on May 16.

Crews currently are working to complete a new nine-classroom wing, which is being built on the southwest corner of the PHS campus. The new wing is scheduled to be finished before classes resume in the fall.

Pelham police Lt. Pete Folmar said hard economic times over the past few years have driven up copper thefts across the nation.

“Copper theft is not just a local problem, it’s happening everywhere. We see a good bit of it,” Folmar said. “Copper prices are like silver and gold. They go up when the economy goes down.”

Folmar said stolen copper “generally speaking, is not trackable,” but said Pelham and other agencies across the state are working to enforce the state’s scrap metal dealer documentation laws.

State laws require metal recycling companies to accurately record the names and addresses of those selling metals, the date of sale and the type and amount of metal sold.