Jackson, Miss. (WLBT) – One state agency is monitoring a spike in a crime that typically occurs in the inner city, but now, metal thefts are on the rise out in the county.
Across the state of Mississippi, thieves are after copper.
Whether it’s in an appliance or in the middle of a field in the Delta, they’re taking whatever they can get their hands on, for some quick cash.
Recently, a man was caught on surveillance cameras, stealing an air conditioner from a Hinds County library.
The Secretary of State’s office says it’s a crime that’s on the rise, even in rural areas of the state.
“Sunflower County, they had three farms with three wells they stole,” said the Secretary of State’s office. “10-12 feet of copper, but it costs $5,000 to put it back. Yazoo County also had about 1000 feet of copper stolen.”
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says the price of copper has reached a recent high at $2.20 a pound.
“They take from churches, from farmers and from people who have worked hard to earn that and they take maybe $200 worth of copper and it costs $10,000 to put it back,” said Hosemann.
Hosemann says his office is working closely with local metal recyclers and other states to stop the quick sale of stolen metals.
Under state law, recyclers must tag all metals and hold them for three days before paying the person who brings it in.
“Our dealers have been cooperating with us prior to this time,” said Hosemann. “So where this rash is coming from recently in the Delta and Jackson and others reporting to us in the last couple weeks or so, where that’s coming from, we want to find out where they’re selling it. Where are they going to get that cash?”
Recyclers are being put on alert to be on the lookout for stolen metals as the thefts continue to spike.