Copper thieves target local family business

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Reported by: Lynn Casey
Updated: 2/26 12:08 am Published: 2/25 11:57 pm

 Thieves stealing scrap metal is something businesses have to worry about. Tulsa police released surveillance photos of two thieves burglarizing a north Tulsa company. Clifford Power is a family business, and they’ve been here for nearly 30 years. Some of their other locations have had theft problems, though, never here. But now the company is out nine thousand dollars in copper cable.

“They were just able to kick it in. So one of the things we’re doing is beefing up our security on all of our gates. We are also making sure we don’t leave this stuff outside any longer. It’s being locked up inside the building where an alarm will go off,” says Tom Clifford, part owner of Clifford Power.

Those are some of the changes Clifford Power will have to make at its Tulsa location after two thieves kicked in the gate and made off with nine thousand dollars in copper cable.

“The cable that we had stolen was out of some of our test equipment; some of our test generators,” says Clifford.

Clifford Power sells and repairs emergency generators, so they use a lot of the kind of cable with copper targeted by thieves. But a neighboring business caught the theft on its surveillance cameras.

"They got a picture of their vehicle, which is a while Chevrolet pickup truck. And they broke through the fence and they walked around our yard in a rather leisurely manner,” says Clifford.

He says he’s been stolen from before at some of his other locations, but the blow never softens.

“It’s a violation of your space. But most assuredly it’s because they want to make a quick buck. My nine thousand dollars worth of cable might have netted them $250,” says Clifford.

Clifford says people those thieves try to sell to could help.

“I would request that you remain vigilant. I read about this stuff in the newspaper regularly and there wouldn’t be this type of thing happening if there wasn’t some type of a demand for it,” says Clifford.

Last November a new law tightened regulations on scrap metal buying in Oklahoma. It forces dealers to be licensed, and buyers to verify that license before they buy. It’s supposed to make it harder for thieves, and also level the playing field for legitimate sellers. Clifford just hopes people follow it.

“The recycling industry in Oklahoma has historically turned a blind eye, I believe, toward just accepting materials from anybody," says Clifford.

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