Channel 2 Action News has learned of one of Atlanta’s biggest copper heists, with $80,000 worth of wire gone.
The manager at City Electric Supply on Northside Drive showed Channel 2’s Craig Lucie where thieves peeled back the back fence of the business. Manager Tony Larkins showed Lucie video where a man is seen using a pole to tilt the outside surveillance cameras up.
Larkins also thinks the thieves then used a sledgehammer to break open a 4x3 foot hole in a double brick wall.
The copper thieves made the hole big enough so they could carry 181 spools of wire out.
“This is a double brick wall, so obviously they had to knock the first side out and knock the other side out,” Larkins said.
Larkins said the location of the gaping hole was perfect for them to get away with stealing so much wire.
“They had to know the sensor was there because they didn’t go any further or it would set the sensor off,” explained Larkins.
The men worked around the sensors on the ceiling, loading up as much wire as they could. They cleared off entire shelves.
“They knew what not to take. They didn’t take fittings. They just took the copper things that they can get rid of right away,” Larkins said.
Before breaking through the brick wall, the three to four men came by the business twice. According to the security camera log, they came by Saturday, at about 4 p.m., and then 9:30 p.m. Sunday night to load up all the wire.
“You know it’s sad. The first thing you would think of is ‘inside job.’ Somebody’s got to know this, but then last week another store in South Carolina got hit,” Larkins said.
Larkins said three other stores were also hit. He said the men hit a total of two in South Carolina and another in Rome, Ga., where they stole $70,000 in copper wire.
He thinks the men are stealing the wire in one state and selling it on the black market in another. He also said since the economy has picked up, more construction companies are looking for the cheapest wire for their new jobs.