Police Catch Suspected Copper Thief In Council Bluffs

Paul Gutierrez

COUNCIL BLUFFS (KPTM) - A man police believe is responsible for trying to make off with copper from the Western Historic Trails Center was taken to jail Tuesday.

Police booked John Carlson, 53, after nabbing him during the overnight hours.

"I'm not surprised at all," said Abe Edelman, a scrap metal yard owner.

That's because he hears of this kind of crime nearly every day. From schools, to restaurants to churches, Edelman knows there's no limit to what copper thieves will try to do.

"The price per pound is what the draw is," said Edelman. "The more weight you have the more money you will make."

As the pounds add up, it sometimes leaves copper theft victims behind thousands of dollars.

"People are desperate. The economy is kind of soft, so people are hurting for money."

A reason that has some scrap metal yards on the lookout before anyone else has the chance to strike again.

"That's why we fingerprint everybody that comes in here."

The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates metal theft has doubled since 2008. In the United States alone, businesses lose nearly one billion dollars per year.