Evanston cops keep an eye out for copper thefts
Updated: April 22, 2013 10:32AM
EVANSTON — Police recently released their annual report, summing up crime trends for 2012.
The crime police are watching closely in the current year? Copper thefts.
“This is going to be a driver of the theft number in 2013,” predicted Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington, in a recent briefing for reporters.
“Stuff you had – that we had, on churches and houses for as long as we can remember – has now become incredibly valuable for scrap metal,” he said. “This is a world economy issue … not just Chicago. If we’re competing in a global market place, that piece of copper makes it worthwhile to steal.”
He said catalytic converters are in demand for the same reason.
“The metal in the catalytic converter makes them worth the risk of stealing now,” Eddington said.
Even cities can become victims.
“There was a place in the west suburbs where somebody was stealing manpower covers,” Eddington said. “It’s (a manhole) a lot of metal, expensive for a city to replace and also terrible for the driver driving down the street who doesn’t realize the manhole cover is gone.”
Eddington said police are keeping a watch on scrap metal dealers, much as they do with pawnshops, seeing what comes in.
Meanwhile, residents should be on the lookout for suspicious cars or vehicles cruising up and down their streets.
A professional metal thief, can make a few cuts with a power tool and remove a catalytic converter from a car in a manner of minutes, he said.
Residents should also give thought to how they park their cars, he said. If possible, pick well-lit areas, Eddington said.
Also, those with two cars should decide which of the vehicles has the highest ground clearance, and park that one inside, he said. Park the one with the lower ground clearance outside, “because those are harder to get,’’ he said.