Sheriff Roger Christian noted that copper thefts are hard to solve because there’s no way to identify a victim’s wire and pipes after they’ve been removed. Many recyclers take copper for cash with no questions asked.
“Unless you catch somebody in the act, you’re going to have a difficult time finding someone after the fact,” Christian said. “One of our latest victims offered a reward and hopefully that might generate some information.”
The reward was offered by Buford Roger Knight of Bulls Gap, whose vacant rental property at 330 Lautner Road in Bulls Gap was robbed of its wiring.
Knight told the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday afternoon that he had stopped by the residence to do some repairs and noticed damage to the inside electrical box. He then noticed the outside meter box was also damaged and that the copper wires were missing.
Knight told police that the previous tenant moved out in mid-October and he did not suspect them. Knight didn’t specify an amount for the reward.
A second copper theft reported Tuesday was on the other side of Hawkins County in the Eidson community, and was much more extensive than Knight’s theft.
James Wayne Riner of Mesa, Wash., told the HCSO he’d left a man living in his home at 170 Parker Road in Eidson to look after it when his family moved to Washington, but the man had passed away.
Riner said his daughter stopped by the residence to do some routine maintenance on Nov. 18, and when she returned this past Monday she found the home had been burglarized.
Copper had been stripped from a wall heater causing damage to the wall and at an outside natural gas tank.
Several other areas were also damaged by copper removal, and there were also several other items stolen, including miscellaneous tools, a Craftsman toolbox, a food processor, two porcelain dolls, an antique sewing machine, huge bins full of nuts and bolts, four radiators, a wood chipper, drill press, two grinders and a weight bench.
Anyone with information about either burglary is asked to contact the HCSO at 272-4848.