The Crime: Theft
The Victim: Paul Cuny
Location:  5400 block of Falls Road
Date: Sunday, June 1
Time: 3:30 a.m.

Times are tough, and many of our wallets are feeling the pinch.

In fact, some homebuilders and renovating companies such as Sharif & Munir are even feeling the squeeze of the sluggish economy in the form of copper thieves.

Paul Cuny, project manager for several of the company’s properties, had a house on Falls Road ready for a pluming inspection. When the plumber arriver, however, Cuny discovered that half the copper pipes in the ground were missing.

“We were doing a major renovation and tore down half of the house,” Cuny says. “Despite having a chain link fence and a wind screen that acted like a visual barrier, the thieves took the copper.”

Cuny says he and his crew even went so far as to paint all the copper in an attempt to throw off any thieves, but to no avail. He says that burglary hasn’t been a problem in past years, but now he’s seeing more vacant homes targeted.

Cuny says this isn’t the only burglary he has encountered recently. At another vacant house, he says, a group of burglars pretended to be landscapers and mowed the property’s lawn. Then they backed their truck up to the garage and stole all of the appliances in the house.

On another property, thieves crept into the empty house, climbed into the attic and stole most of the copper lines. They returned the next evening and took the remaining copper.

And Sunday, June 8, thieves targeted another nearby vacant house, breaking down the door but not stealing anything.

“This drives up the cost of our insurance and in turn drives up the cost of the house,” Cuny says.

The police filed a report, and Cuny says officers stepped up patrols in the area, but he knows the extra patrols won’t last forever.

Dallas Police Senior Cpl. Eddie Crawford says these burglaries are certainly part of a bigger trend police are seeing across the city.

“Right now, copper is the new gold,” Crawford says. “The city is trying to get the metal buyers to police themselves. It is a really big problem. They steal it from old, abandoned warehouses and even from light poles on the interstate.”

And Crawford says he has some advice for contractors or anyone who is renovating a home.

“The police tell renovators to install appliances on the last day the house closes,” he says. “I know of one crime where the thieves were dressed like contractors and completely stripped the whole house from wiring, carpet and appliances. The neighbors thought they were installing equipment and never called the police.
“Now that’s pretty bold.”


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