Copper Thieves Target Homes Under Construction in Sunnyvale

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sunnyvale is a small, wealthy town of about 6,000 residents in east Dallas County. Its population has doubled over the last decade, and home prices have soared. Thousands of dollars' worth of copper wiring has already been stolen this year from Sunnyvale home construction sites. (Published Friday, Jul 11, 2014)

    Home builders in one Dallas town are increasing their efforts against copper thieves this summer.

    Sunnyvale is a small, wealthy town of about 6,000 residents in east Dallas County. Its population has doubled over the last decade, and home prices have soared.

    But the town doesn't have its own police force, and some construction companies believe crooks are taking advantage of the rural countryside and plentiful construction sites.

    Thousands of dollars' worth of copper wiring has already been stolen this year from Sunnyvale home construction sites.

    Motion-activated security cameras have caught several other prowlers breaking into construction sites late at night, lurking around with flashlights.

    "There is good monitoring from the sheriff, but it's not good not enough for thieves who want to take the copper wire" said Jojy Koshy, the owner of Atrium Fine Homes, which has built several multimillion dollar homes in the area.

    "It's pretty rural out here, Koshy said. "They feel like they'll be under less watch."

    One of Atrium's homes under construction right now is a sprawling nine-bedroom, 30,000 square foot house. That one construction site alone has about $100,000 worth of copper wiring, Koshy said.

    And it would cost twice as much to repair the damage left behind, he added.

    "I think when thieves try to take something it's always a short term decision. It's whatever they can make, as fast as they can," Koshy said.

    That's why Atrium is installing motion-activated surveillance cameras at its construction sites. he said. Each camera costs $500, but Koshy said it's worth the investment.

    "That to us is priceless. We want to make sure we guard our job sites."

    Cameras have already caught prowlers once this summer, but nothing was stolen. But at other job sites, the security footage has led to arrests.

    "I think when thieves try to take something it's always a short term decision. It's whatever they can make, as fast as they can," Koshy said.

    A deputy who patrols Sunnyvale told NBC 5 that the increase of security cameras around town has been "extremely effective in deterring thefts," said Sgt. Russell Jacks.