Heat Pump Copper Stolen

Published 4:15 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2011

FARMVILLE – Look out for your heat pumps.

And keep an eye on your neighbors' heat pumps, too.

The price of copper has criminals stealing copper out of heat pumps and one Farmville businessman found the copper tubing from his heat pumps stolen last week.

“It does happen periodically,” Farmville Police Chief Doug Mooney told The Herald on Friday. “It seems to happen as it gets warmer and it happened to him last night.”

When the temperature rises in the spring, heat pumps often go hours without cutting on, nor have they been set to the “cool” mode yet, either.

The thieves, therefore, know they can steal the copper tubing from the heat pumps and get away before anyone notices anything unusual about the heat pump not cutting on during mild, early spring weather.

“It's interesting how the criminal mind thinks,” Chief Mooney observed.

The non-criminal mind needs to think in response, too.

“The message is to just keep your eyes open and be aware that the price of metal is high,” the police chief said, and that there are those who will scavenge metal right out from your heat pump.

“Keep an eye on each other's property,” Chief Mooney continued, “and call the police if you see anything that looks suspicious.”

Sometimes, he said, the thieves simply take the entire heat pump, scavenging out the metal later.

In the case last week, Chief Mooney said, the heat pumps were left behind but their copper tubing was stolen.

“This was strictly for the copper,” he said.

But with the price of many metals rising, there is a criminal market for more than copper.

“Any type of metal that can be sold,” the police chief warned, is potentially vulnerable to thieves.