Police in West Springfield are warning residents about recent break-ins at abandoned houses.
Police said people have been targeting abandoned homes or homes under renovation to steal copper piping. Captain Jay Gearing said in the last three weeks, thieves have been targeting foreclosed and bank owned properties, and combing through them to clear out their copper piping.
Capt. Gearing added that homes off Elm Street and Memorial Avenue have been broken into.
In one instance, thieves even cut a live gas line in the process. The average value of copper nowadays is around $2.93 cents per pound, depending on the type, and theft has been a consistent problem.
One woman said in downtown Springfield, buildings have had their copper cleaned out.
“I used to live downtown, there were old buildings and empty buildings, so that had pipes and wires taken from that,” said Fran Cameron of West Springfield.
The West Springfield Police said homes being renovated have also been hit. Capt. Gearing said any home could be a target, and neighbors are asked to call the police if they notice anything unusual.
Police said there is video evidence in one of the break-ins they are currently reviewing, but they aren’t releasing it to the public at this time.