Thieves steal $11K in pipe, wire from Cottage Grove city hall/public safety siteThieves stole more than $11,000 in copper pipe and wire from the construction site of the new Cottage Grove city hall and public safety building.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Some bold copper thieves found an unusual victim: police.
More specifically, thieves this week stole more than $11,000 in copper pipe and wire from the construction site of the new Cottage Grove city hall and public safety building.
There were three theft reports, but the big one was the loss of $10,000 worth of copper pipe. The pipe, which was to be installed in the air conditioning system, was being stored inside the building along Keats Avenue.
The pipe theft was reported Tuesday, May 22.
A day earlier, police had been called to the site after two large spools of copper wire were stolen from inside the building. That wire was valued at $1,250. That same day, Monday, May 21, there also was a report of stolen high-voltage extension cords and welding leads from outside the building. That material was worth a combined $800.
Police did not have any suspects.
The building is not yet secured with locking doors and windows, but police said they and the construction contractor made security improvements after the thefts.
“There are measures that are being taken to ensure the security of the site,” Cottage Grove Public Safety Director Craig Woolery said. He declined to discuss them.
Entrances are covered with plywood and windows are covered in plastic.
Copper is often stolen from construction sites and vacant homes and buildings. It’s a particularly hot commodity now as its value is over $3 a pound.
“The scrappers are really active,” Woolery said.
The cost of the stolen material would be covered by the contractor or its insurance provider. There is no financial loss to the city of Cottage Grove, said City Administrator Ryan Schroeder.
“We’re not at risk,” he said. “We don’t have any liability or risk concerns until we take possession of the property.”
The project is expected to be completed by October. The building will house city administrative offices as well as the police department and emergency response officials.