A Miami warehouse was struck by a thief for third time in four months – and it was caught on video.
In the surveillance video, a copper metal thief tugs with all his might before yanking a pipe off the wall of the warehouse at NW 7th Street and NW 27th Avenue in Miami. He looks all round to make sure no one sees him.
“He doesn't realize the camera is right there watching him,” said property manager Orin Black, who placed the camera there.
Black said this is the third time recently that he’s been hit. 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.
"The AC unit was $17,000,” Black said.
The latest incident happened early Thursday morning. When the pipe finally came off it sent water gushing out, soaking the suspect and leaving a wet mess, the video shows. It also prompted a police investigation.
“We did receive the complaint, a report was filed and detectives are looking into it,” Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Reyes said.
Police say such criminals are looking to sell the copper for scrap metal – and they can be bold.
“We’ve seen through the years people even come in with light posts, we've seen them come in with water and sewer covers,” Reyes said.
The criminals try to sell the scrap at recycling companies, police say. There is a large concentration of them near the Miami River, but many companies are now protecting themselves from liability, screening their clients.
“Once we scan your driver's license and get all your vehicle information, you get printed out a ticket,” said Daniel Isicoff, who is an operations manager at the recycling company ABC-Svinga Brothers Corp. “Then you give it to the gentleman inside, and he's going to ask them to put their thumbprint here.”
Isicoff said “if anyone brings in something that isn't supposed to be bought, we don't buy it.”