Police: Copper thieves targeting businesses along rail line

by: Craig Lucie Updated:

Thieves are targeting several northwest Atlanta businesses that back-up to railroad tracks and getting away with thousands in copper.

ATLANTA - Thieves are targeting several northwest Atlanta businesses that back up to railroad tracks, and they're getting away with thousands in copper.

Channel 2's Craig Lucie spoke with several business owners who said detectives told them they've been having issues with the copper thieves traveling along the rail line and finding businesses where there may be copper.

Lucie also obtained surveillance video that shows thieves in a white van backing up to one business, disassembling an air-conditioning unit and loading it in the van within three minutes.

At Bell Street Burritos off Howell Mill Road, the owner said thieves ripped off his AC unit last Monday.

"They stole the whole compressor. There were always two compressors one with a cage, one without and they stole the one without. We'll be putting a new cage around the other one in the next couple of days," said Matt Hinton of Bell Street Burritos.

Less than mile away, crooks even broke into the Atlanta City Water Reservoir where they stole 300 feet of copper wire from a generator.

The day before that, the Nottingham Chemical and Manufacturing Company, which backs up to a rail line, became a target.

A manager told Lucie thieves cut three holes in their back fence and stole 1,200 feet of copper wire worth $3,000.

The manager added that they had to be professionals otherwise they would've been electrocuted since they cut live wire.

Atlanta police said they recently caught Calixto Camacho in the act May 7.

They said he was knocking holes in walls and ceilings of a vacant apartment complex on La Dawn Lane in northwest Atlanta and ripping out copper wire.

Rusty Mayhal, of the Sand Rock Transit business, said it also is a constant target due to its location along the rail line.

"They work the railroad tracks. They do, and it's hard to see them. We've been hit seven or eight times right here," said Mayhal.

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