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Buffalo Police Department
Mayor Byron W. Brown
Commissioner Daniel Derenda

Home » Press Releases » 2008 News Archive » BPD Targeting Copper Thieves

BPD Targeting Copper Thieves

The Buffalo Police Department has been busy tracking copper thefts in the city. While the crime is not unique to the city - or the region - it will not be tolerated. The rise in the price of copper, from one dollar to four dollars in only a few years time, is what has apparently led to the increase of reported thefts. Buffalo police arrested three men - recently for a burglary on Sumner St., in which plumbing and copper pipes were stolen. Officer Tara O'Neill of C District arrested JohnT. Mickens (10/25/35) and his son John Mickens (3/8/59), both of Hutchinson Ave., along with a third man, Edward Whitsett (11/19/87) of Blaine Ave., for the burglary and larceny.

"We know that the theft of copper and other metals is on the increase, in part due to the rising price of these materials," said Chief of Detectives Dennis J. Richards. "As with other crimes, the availability of an item in demand - such as copper - fuels the increase in criminal activity."

Within the city reports have been on the increase, at least since 2005, when there were only 56 reported thefts that year. In 2006, there were 314 reported copper thefts and in 2007, 420. In the first few months of this year police have had 175 incidents reported. The amounts in value of the stolen copper varies, depending on the target. Police reported thefts of downspouts, plumbing, spools of utility cable with various values associated with the property. In one instance, an out of town owner reported copper and other property stolen from a vacant building on Main St., near Hertel Ave., valued at $100,000.00. The theft occurred sometime between November 11th and May 12th, when it was discovered.

Buffalo police are being proactive, having conducted spot checks of locations in which stolen property would likely be sold. Police from the General Investigation Unit are working with the Erie Crime Analysis Center to identify and track patterns to the burglary problem. Additionally, police are pursuing people willing to accept stolen property, offered for sale. Termed as "compliance checks" by the chief of detectives, officers have arrested three men at one location, and another man at a local scrapyard, for possession of stolen property.

Arrested and charged with possession of stolen property were Frederick J. Lynch (3/11/49) of Dearborn Ave., who accepted over 500 pounds of "stolen" copper and an electrical transformer, in an incident on May 22. Later that day, Danny Dunn (1/29/50) of Lyndonville, NY, Jonathan D. Schroth (12/25/81) of Medina and Craig Schroth (8/26/78) also of Medina were charged with possession of the same "stolen" property. The Schroth's were identified as brothers. "Businesses who are not compliant with the law and city ordinances are at peril of losing their privilege of operating a business in the city," Richards said.

Arrested around midnight on April 30th, were Marshall Lake of Seneca St. and Mark Kobee of Davey St. The pair were arrested by South District Officer Robert Heidinger and James Reese, as they were attempting to leave an Archer St. business with copper wiring stolen from a truck inside a fenced in yard.

This crime has no boundaries, as published reports May 23rd, indicated five men were arrested in Hamburg for stealing copper wiring which was to be used for a church carnival. Charged with grand larceny and criminal mischief were Tyler A. Getman, 19, of Lake View; John R. Getman, 21, of Lake View; Andrew C. Gutkowski, 20, of Lake View; and Aaron G. Tundo, 19, of Silver Creek. Jacob R. Walters, 18, of Derby was charged only with grand larceny. The stolen property was fenced at a Buffalo scrapyard.

Other cities in the nation have reported increases in the amount of reported copper larcenies.