Metal thieves resort to 'urban mining' in Peoria

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Peoria police say thieves have resorted to "urban mining" to obtain metal throughout the city.

Police spokesman Jay Davies said thieves have been stealing air-conditioning units and copper wiring and plumbing from vacant homes or strip malls.

"These 'urban miners' are getting good cash returns when selling all types of metals to commercial scrap yards," Davies said in a news release.

Over the past six weeks, the Peoria Police Department has taken more than 30 reports of urban mining. Davies said 44 air-conditioning units have been reported stolen.

Police are asking residents to call in if they see this type of activity.

Indicators include:

•    Seeing workers removing plumbing, ripping out wiring, taking more out of a home than taking in. If a home is actually being remodeled, normally, there will be a large Dumpster outside of the home. AC units are not normally taken away unless there is one, visible, in a box out next to the one being replaced. Copper plumbing is not normally gutted from a home.

•    People working late at night or early morning on vacant homes.

•    Electrical wiring is not normally gutted from a home. It is not necessary when re-wiring or re-plumbing a home.

•    Thieves are also taking any metal they can carry.

•    They have a work truck or van that may or may not have a business name on the side.

•    No Dumpster outside for trash, carpeting, cabinets, etc for the remodel.

•    Home being worked on is a vacant home – for sale or in foreclosure.

•    Home is less than 10 years old – homes this new should not require this type of work.

•    Workers on top of commercial centers/strip malls, even schools.