Boise Police Department
News Release

William L. Bones
Chief of Police

Contact: BPD Media Relations Office


Monday, November 21, 2011

Metal Theft

Metal Theft

    Boise, Nov. 21, 2011 - Boise Police arrested a man Sunday for stealing copper wire after cutting through a utility company fence to get to the metal. Officers say metal theft is a continuing problem in the Boise Valley, and are urging homeowners, businesses and recyclers to take steps to prevent the crime.

    Arrested: Daniel W. Wilcox, 40, Boise

    Charged: Grand Theft (F)

    What Happened: Boise Police patrol officers were dispatched to a utility company lot on the corner of N. Five Mile and W. Franklin Roads Sunday, November 20th shortly after 5:00 p.m. after a citizen reported seeing a possible metal theft occurring. When an officer arrived on scene, a second citizen flagged the officer down, reported he too had seen what looked like the theft of copper wire from the lot. The citizen pointed the officer toward a man walking north of N. Five Mile Rd. as the man he'd seen near the lot.

    Officers stopped and detained the suspect, identified as Wilcox. After investigating further, officers found evidence a hole had been cut through a chain link fence surrounding the utility lot. Officers also found several items of copper wire about 50-feet from the hole outside the fence. The copper wire was valued at more than $3,400. Wilcox was arrested and booked into the Ada County Jail charged with stealing the wire. A utility truck inside the fence had also been burglarized. Officers are forwarding their report to Ada County Prosecutors for review for possible additional charges.

    Preventing Metal Theft: Metal theft has been a continuing problem in Boise and around the country since metal prices began to rise several years ago. At risk is copper, aluminum, nickel, stainless steal, brass and bronze. Thefts occur from homes and businesses with copper roofing or gutters, vacant buildings, industrial facilities, commercial buildings and construction sites. Air conditioning units may also be a taregt and may be stolen or tampered with for their copper coils and pipes that connect to HVAC systems.

    Boise Police Property Crimes detectives are working with local recyclers to implement processes, including confirming the ID of sellers, to help reduce the resale of stolen metals.

    Boise PD Crime Prevention experts also suggest the following precautions:

  • Install a security camera with video recorder and keep recordings for a sufficient period.
  • Secure all equipment in locked buildings, or in well-lit areas secured by fencing. Use a perimeter security system with contact alarms or motion detectors and gates with locks to avoid theft of scrap metals.
  • Post “No Trespassing” placards around the property or signs indicating the presence of a surveillance or security system to deter thieves. .
  • Remove access to buildings and roofs. Eliminate items that allow for easy entry to buildings, such as trees, ladders, scaffolding, dumpsters and accumulated materials such as pallet piles.
  • Secure your building access with deadbolts, and door and window locks.
  • Trim or remove shrubbery or other landscaping that allows criminals to hide from view on your property.
  • Mark metals with the company’s name using paint, hard-to-remove decals or engraving equipment.
  • Make sure someone is present when supplies such as copper wiring or pipe are delivered at a job site so the materials can be immediately secured.
  • Don’t receive supplies earlier than you need them. The longer metal is onsite and unused, the longer it’s at risk of theft.
  • Develop a relationship with local law enforcement. Ask for their guidance in preventing metal theft at your business and what to do in the event a theft occurs. The Boise Police Crime Prevention unit offers FREE security surveys for businesses.
  • Increase lighting outside, and protect fixtures (such as AC units) with locked metal cages.