Easton Dealing With Copper Thieves

Multiple thefts of metal downspouts reported throughout the city.

Twice in the last few weeks, we've reported on people being arrested for stealing copper in Easton.

And each time, someone has written to us telling those arrests were just the tip of a copper-piping theft iceberg.

"My house has been hit 4 times in 3 years," wrote College Hill resident John Vanarman, noting that he ultimately recovered some "twisted unusable downspouts." 

Last week, Vanarman also told his story to WFMZ, which noted that the city has 20 open copper theft cases.

Or maybe it's 19. On Saturday, Easton police charged Christian Fielding -- who had already been jailed on previous copper theft charges -- with stealing the downspouts from a home on the 1400 block of Northampton Street on December 12.

A witness who had seen him during the theft identified Fielding, 26, of Phillipsburg, from a photo line-up, police said.

Copper thefts are often done to finance a drug addiction. As the San Francisco Chronicle put it last year:

"For those seeking a quick buck, there is nothing quite like metal. It is virtually everywhere, on buildings and cars and infrastructure like stoplights. Unlike many other types of loot, it can be swiftly rendered untraceable - and still sold for a good price."

In Minnesota last year, a rash of copper thefts, some of which led to fatal explosions, caused U.S. Sen. Amy Kloubachar to lobby for a law that makes taking copper from essential infrastructure a federal crime.

That's according to Minnesota's FOX47 TV station, which said the legislation would require people selling metal to prove they own it or have the authority to sell it.


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