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Published April 08 2013

26,000 pounds of copper worth $112,000 stolen from north Fargo business

FARGO – Police are investigating the theft of roughly 26,000 pounds of copper valued at $112,000 from a north Fargo business over the weekend, Deputy Chief Pat Claus said.

The burglary – the latest in a string of high-value copper thefts in the Fargo-Moorhead area in recent months – was reported at 6:05 a.m. Monday at Dakota Supply Group, 2601 3rd Ave. N.

It’s the second major copper theft from the company in as many months. Thieves broke into the company’s Grand Forks location the weekend of March 2-3 and stole 13,223 pounds of copper wiring worth more than $110,000 wholesale, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

A woman who answered the phone at Dakota Supply in Fargo on Monday said the company was not commenting on last weekend’s theft.

Claus said it’s the largest copper theft he could recall in the Fargo area. He would not disclose how the thief or thieves gained access to the building.

Police also are investigating what type of truck would be needed to transport tons of copper and are working with state and federal authorities to get the word out about the stolen metal, Claus said.

“We’re not seeing the metal showing up locally, so it’s being transported across state lines, and usually multiple state lines,” he said of previous metal thefts.

A bipartisan bill sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and co-sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., would make it a federal crime to steal metal from critical infrastructure and would require scrap metal dealers to keep detailed records of secondary metal purchases for two years and make them available to law enforcement agencies.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder voiced support for the bill last month.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528