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Copper thefts on the rise in Montgomery Co.

Thursday - 11/21/2013, 5:10am  ET

Silver Spring seeing increase in copper thefts

WTOP's Andrew Mollenbeck reports.

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WASHINGTON -- Montgomery County officials have been investigating an increase in copper thefts that began in June.

Copper has been stolen during commercial and residential burglaries, and vacant homes for sale have been most commonly targeted, according to a news release from Montgomery County police.

"We have noticed that the specific targets of these criminals are vacant houses and those that are under construction as well as those that are up for rent and for sale," says Janelle Smith, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County Police.

While there has been an increase in such thefts recently, authorities say copper theft is a common problem countywide.

Tips for preventing copper theft:

  • Make sure properties look 'lived-in' by keeping the lawn mowed and the newspapers collected.

  • Leave drapes on windows and set a few lights to timers.

  • Leave on outdoor lights.

  • Ask neighbors to let you know if outdoor lights burn out

  • Ask neighbors to take note of cars coming and going from the house

  • Make sure a real estate agent keeps a log of prospective buyers

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