Mo' Metal, Mo' Problems: Scrap Thefts Ravage Broward

A handful of Broward hooligans has shown that some people think metals are a little too precious.

Six storm drains have been stolen from Oakland Park in the last two nights, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office. The upswing in metal thefts -- which includes a "Slinky" AC thief -- has also taken place in Pompano Beach, where five sewer drains have been stolen since May.

The BSO didn't specify whether the robbers cribbed manholes, or just grated storm drains. At this time, investigators aren't sure whether the thefts are the work of one or more crooks, the BSO says.

"Obviously, we are investigating these cases," Kayla Concepcion, BSO spokeswoman, tells New Times. "The theft of metal scraps for sale has been an ongoing issue."

With ACs, copper thieves prey upon houses and commercial buildings in the middle of the night, then pilfer several hundred dollars' worth of copper, the BSO says. Homeowners and businesses, in turn, have to pay thousands to replace costly air-conditioning units.

With storm drains, however, it's unclear whether the bandits work round-the-clock, or only under the cover of night.

At any rate, if you happen to see anything suspicious -- say, a masked individual lugging around an AC compressor or storm drain covers (who is also carrying a burlap bag with a '$' painted on it...think "Hamburglar")  -- the BSO asks that you call Crimestoppers at 1-866-493-TIPS.

(That's 1-866-493-8477 if you don't feel like looking at the little letters on your phone's keypad.)

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Victoria Bekiempis