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Thieves making off with copper from local businesses

CREATED Feb 6, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - “How much of an epidemic this is, the cost to businesses owners and insurance companies,” said Deacon Cliff Hill of Sweet Communion Baptist Church.

Hill is fed up, and he’s not alone. Police say thieves have hit Aldi's grocery stores, and several other businesses along Capitol Drive, ripping copper from air conditioning units.

“It's frustrating, but it's a sign of the times," Hill said.

Hill is so fed up he set up a community meeting to talk about what can be done to stop the thefts.

"This issue is going on in a lot of different places," said Alderman Willie Wade.

Thieves took about $300 worth of copper from the church, but did about $20,000 worth of damage. Fortunately, the last thief that hit this church was caught in the act.

"He explained that he would put the merchandise on the bike and push it down the street," Hill said.

Milwaukee police say the thief made more than $10,000 last month alone by scrapping copper, but there are other thieves doing the same thing. Business owner Ray Buford argues something needs to be done.

"I'm at the end of my wits," he said. "I don't know what to do anymore."