As the demand for copper increases, an growing number of copper crooks are taking to California’s streets by disguising themselves as legitimate construction workers, wearing safety vests and driving white trucks to gain access to homes, vacant properties, and industrial sites, where they can steal the desirable metal.
“As we continue to put enforcement on them, they are continuing to improve their techniques,” said Officer Ken Leonard who works with the Metal Theft Task Force, according to CBS Sacramento.
Copper theft, including the theft of catalytic converters, has become such a problem in Sacramento and throughout California, that Assembly Bill 2313 was penned and passed in April of this year, creating a statewide Metal Theft Task Force to combat this issue.
The bipartisan AB 2313 was sponsored by Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R–Palm Desert), who is now running for Congress. “It is encouraging to see a bipartisan coalition working together to take on metal theft,” said Nestande of the support AB 2313 received, on the California State Assembly website.
In addition to sporting fake safety vests, the copper culprits “are intentionally buying white-colored trucks” in order to complete their criminal outfits and appear more legitimate to the pubic eye, Officer Leonard said. Some are reportedly even placing fake work lights atop their trucks in order to help them in their scheming ways, CBS notes.
Often, the stolen copper is resold to recyclers as scrap for cash. A report published on Thursday by the American Metal Market noted that there has been a rise and improvement in domestic copper scrap supply during the month of August; a testament to the still high demand for the metal.
Legitimate construction workers should have logos on their vests and anyone who is suspicious as to the verity of a worker’s status are urged to request an ID badge for verification.