LAS VEGAS -- Copper thefts went down with the end of the construction boom. But now, they are back. Criminals are getting more desperate to take advantage of copper prices that are at record highs.
Police say criminals are taking risks with their lives by pulling copper wires out of light poles and utility boxes. Metropolitan police officers are working with recycling yards to curb the thefts. They are competing against illegal recyclers in anonymous vans, smuggling copper out of state.
"They're selling it two what we call a mobile recycler. Somebody that's just driving around with the proverbial white paneled van with a meat scale in the back and we think there are just dozens and dozens of these throughout the valley," said Metro Detective Robert Hagberg.