Authorities say they’re making progress in the case of a Miami thief caught on camera last week yanking a pipe from a warehouse.
Orin Black, the manager of the vandalized property, said that Miami-Dade police contacted him Wednesday to say a suspect was detained and confessed to the crime. A metal recycler had recognized the suspect and contacted police, Black said.
“We appreciate that someone got caught,” he said.
A Miami police spokeswoman said no arrest had been made in the case as of Wednesday afternoon, but said a "suspect is being looked at closely.”
A thief, recorded on surveillance video last week, pulled the pipe off the wall of Black’s warehouse at Northwest Seventh Street and Northwest 27th Avenue in Miami. The thief positioned the pipe so that the water that gushed out of it didn't soak him, the video shows.
Black said last week’s heist was the third time his property was struck this year. The first time happened in July, when a thief removed a security cage over an air conditioner and tore the unit apart to steal the copper coils -- a pricey crime for the victim.
Miami-Dade Police Lt. Denise Bernhard said metal theft happens often and is a public safety issue. The thieves steal the metal items to resell to recyclers willing to turn a blind eye.
"We have streetlights that are out for long periods of time because people with some electrical background know how to go in and yank out the tubing or wiring that's expensive and then move on and terrorize some other neighborhood where you'll have blocks and blocks without lighting," Bernhard said.
Wednesday, Miami-Dade County’s metal and copper wire theft task force held one of its meetings to evaluate what more could be done in the county’s metal-theft battle. Even metal recyclers are targeted for theft, said Steve Isicoff of ABC Svinga Brothers Corp., a Miami scrap metal dealer.
"We spend $1,400 a week on private security to patrol our property when we're closed on the weekends and at night,” Isicoff said.