Thieves strip metal from more than a third of Camden’s schools

    Stripping copper and metal from heating and air conditioning units has become a lucrative business for area thieves, leaving property owners on both sides of the Delaware River with costly repair bills.

    Over the past year thieves have stripped the metal from 15 heating, ventilation and air conditioning units at 11 different locations within the Camden School District. Metal and copper taken from these units is then sold to scrap metal dealers who pay about $1.25 per pound for copper, reports “What yields a thief $25 can cost $10,000 to replace.”

    According to the article, “the district already has been billed $265,000 to replace seven units at three schools and it expects to spend in excess of $500,000 on replacements at eight other schools.”

    NewsWorks’ Elizabeth Fiedler reported on proposed scrapping regulations in Pennsylvania back in June.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    State Rep. Tina Davis of Bucks County introduced a bill to make the illegal scrapping trade more difficult and to try to stop businesses and homeowners from being ripped off by banning cash transactions.

    “My bill would require that every scrap metal transaction be recorded and that all sellers who go to a place to sell their scrap metal have to be paid by check,” said Davis. “It would eliminate all cash transactions and every single transaction will be recorded.”

    But opponents of the proposed legislation like Stephen Moss, the co-owner of a scrap metals brokerage company in Bryn Mawr says, “these laws tend to put the onus of law enforcement on the scrap recycler who does not have the resources to handle it.”

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal