WesBell Electronics
Wire and Cable Blog

Stealing Copper Electrical Wire For Scrap Money

Copper, as a commodity, has been rising for the past few years and people have been noticing the amount of money it’s actually worth. Copper is one of the precious metals out there along with gold, silver and aluminum. So there are scrap yards that will take the metals you have for cash to melt them down and sell them back to manufacturers for a profit.

The keyword there was “cash“. The word cash makes it very appealing to thieves because there’s no paper trail of what happened. So if you steal, and scrap, some copper wire for cash then there isn’t much that can be done by the law unless they catch you in the act. It only gets more clever from there..

Right now, there are plenty of stories of people going into vacant homes to steal the copper wire and piping in order to bring it to the scrap yard for cash. Copper is currently at $3.92/lb in September of 2011 which means stealing about 100 lbs of it could get you about $300 in cash that day with no trace.

Part of the problem is all of the foreclosures on the real estate market because the homes are vacant for awhile. Thieves are on the look out for these homes to probably steal a lot more than just the copper wire. Some of the copper thieves have actually been caught dead with wire clippers around a live electrical wire! That tells me that they were crooks long before they decided to start getting into the electrical business.

If you’re an electrician be very careful with electrical wire because people are on the look out. A 50 lb spool is a $150 worth of money just waiting to be grabbed by someone. Keep your wire locked up in a garage while you’re in for the night instead of leaving it on the job site. Also keep all of your waste, like you save your change, so that you can bring it to the scrap yard yourself.

Another way around it would be to buy the exact amount of copper wire you need for each job. We cut exact lengths on all of our THHN wire, Romex, UFB cable and welding cable so that you have limited waste on each job. It’s much easier to calculate profit knowing all of your costs up front.

WesBell Electronics Inc
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