Yet another copper theft

More than 300 feet of copper piping was stolen Friday night from a bridge at the Spirit Rock Meditation center near Woodacre.
“The motivation behind this would be that copper is a fairly valuable metal,” said the caretaker of the facility, Clay Howard. “However, the prices have dropped a whole lot- maybe whoever destroyed part of our property in the theft didn’t know that.”
According to Sergeant Debra Barry of the Marin County Sheriffs Office, copper is being stolen all over the county. “Usually they try to sell it at scrap metal yards,” she said. “There are none in Marin, but some in the greater Bay Area.”
Scrap copper hit a record-high of $4 per pound in July, but has sunk
since then.
“The price of copper varies on a day-by-day basis,” said Sean O’Connell of the Ohmega Salvage yard in Berkeley. “A few months ago the soft metal price was incredibly high—they got to the point where people were breaking into buildings which hadn’t been used in a while and stealing the pipes from the crawl spaces. It got pretty bad. But then the prices dropped pretty far, now they’re just over a dollar a pound.”
Because the copper used at Spirit Rock was not used for structural purposes, it was most likely of a thinner class than standard copper plumbing pipe. Yet even at an average of 0.3 pounds per foot and $1.50 per pound for half-inch piping (the kind stolen from Spirit Rock), the amount stolen would still garner about $144 from a scrap metal yard. Had the thieves stolen the copper just five months ago they might have received as much as $380.
Several months ago, copper piping from several downspouts was taken from a house in Stinson beach, Barry said. She added that she has seen an increase in theft-related crimes in Marin County during the past month.
The investigation into the incident at Spirit Rock is still in progress, Barry said. Currently there are no leads.