Rash of copper thefts hits Roswell

Posted at: 04/16/2013 8:10 PM
By: Amber LaVail, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Copper thieves went ‘prime time’ in Roswell.

They recently hit television towers and a private home. They left behind tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Two television towers were left without cooling systems.

Chaves County Lt. Britt Snyder says, "There is a huge rash of copper thefts going on."

Rubble is all that is left of the air conditioners at KOBR-TV.

"Years ago they would try and break into your house, now it just seems like they are trying to steal the air conditioner," says Snyder.

Chief Engineer Gary Babcock found the dismantled air conditioners and says, "Copper thieves are back. We see this every year whenever the prices go up a little bit."

County Sheriffs say thieves took their time with the coolers and copper.

Snyder says, "In the case of the tower sites they were dismantled in place vs. trying to take the entire unit. They actually took the time to try and disassemble them in place."

Even though the repair costs of the KOBR-TV air conditioner will be over eleven thousand dollars, the thieves only made out with about a hundred bucks.

According to Babcock, "We have called the sheriff out there. We have set up camera surveillance and so on like that so hopefully we catch somebody and put a stop to it."

Snyder says, "We will also work with our recycling companies to help identify the individuals who are bringing these items in."

No television service was lost due to the theft. But engineers say it was close.

If the buildings had heated up, equipment failure would have followed, interrupting television broadcasting.