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updated: 1/10/2013 10:46 PM

McHenry County sees rash of copper thefts

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Copper is a hot item for burglars in McHenry County.

Sheriff Keith Nygren is asking residents to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles and people after several incidents in which burglars forced entry into homes and then cut copper piping from the basements.

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Since early December, the sheriff's office has taken numerous reports of abandoned and foreclosed

properties being burglarized in Marengo, Wonder Lake and McHenry.

Generally, the thieves use cutting tools to strip copper pipes from the basements.

The sheriff's office adds that it is also common for thieves to take air conditioner units and other large appliances that house copper inside them. With the downturn in the economy, and copper fluctuating between $3 and $4 per pound, there has been ample motivation for burglars. On average, a house may have 50 to 60 pounds of copper pipes in the basement.

The sheriff's office said evidence technicians have processed each location and information has been gathered through neighborhood canvassing. At one location, a small green truck was observed leaving the area. Many times thieves will utilize two vehicles, with one acting as a lookout.

Nygren encourages anyone with information regarding these investigations to call either the McHenry County Crime Stoppers at (800) 762-STOP (7867) or the McHenry County sheriff's office tip line at (815) 338-2144. You can also send an email to tipline@co.mchenry.il.us.

Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.00 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the offenders. Crime Stoppers does not use caller ID.

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