Two Colorado Springs businesses were hit by thieves on Sunday night, and police say the crooks are probably looking to cash in on the metal scraps.
It happened on the south side of town off of Lake Avenue. Crooks severed and stole the brass pipes on the sprinkling systems for both businesses.
On one of the businesses, the pipe did not have another valve to cut off the water supply, so gallons of water gushed into the street for hours overnight.
"I went upstairs to turn off the water, and the meter's just flying around so fast, you couldn't even count the numbers," Julie Knudsen, a registered nurse and an administrator at Human Touch Home Health Care, which is in one of the buildings hit. "It's just extremely inconvenient and you feel violated."
Colorado Springs police say commercial properties are most at risk for these types of crimes because the buildings have larger items, which means more metal available to crooks.
"When the value goes up, the demand for these items goes up as well," said Sgt. Jim Jeffcoat of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
A similar theft happened just last month at a Re/Max office just down the road from Sunday's victims. Crooks stripped the copper piping from air conditioners at the office off Lake Avenue.
"As long as scrap metal values are high then we're more than likely to see scrap metal thefts," said Sgt. Jeffcoat.
That means people like Knudsen will likely change the way they do business. She plans to increase surveillance and put locked cages over any exposed metal piping.
Police also tell 11 News that typically thieves who are trying to make a buck off of the metal from piping take it to local scrap metal dealers. But those businesses keep files on their clients, so if there are any suspicious repeat customers, police will likely find out.
The price for brass right now is about $2.00 a pound. The business owners who were hit by thieves now face from about $500 to $1,000 in losses.
If you have any information about these recent thefts, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 634 - STOP.