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Associated Press, Published June 09 2012

Authorities: Increased copper thefts tied to drugs

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Sheriff's investigators in Olmsted County say higher prices for scrap copper has led to an increase in thefts that they link to drug use.

Sheriff's Detective Brad Nelson estimates 90 percent of people involved in scrapping use methamphetamine and often have warrants out for their arrests.

Nelson says a spike in thefts in 2007 led to a state law requiring scrap metal yards to install surveillance cameras and collect personal identification from sellers. He says scrap metal thefts continued after the law was enacted, but in the past six months they have exploded again.

The Post-Bulletin says copper wires were cut from two outdoor air conditioning units at Lighthouse Church in Rochester recently. The units were totaled after the church turned on the air conditioning, not knowing the copper was gone.