Monday, July 22, 2019

Copper theft from a Guelph construction site leads to water overflow on street

A theft from a construction site led to a wet night for one Guelph neighbourhood.

At approximately 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, Ike Umar, the city’s project manager for water and sewer construction, got a call from emergency workers that something had gone wrong.

“Somebody tried to steal the curb stop. Some time around 11 o’clock, the emergency guys called us, and they found someone tried to steal copper,” Umar says of a valve stolen from the exposed water pipes near the intersection between Neeve and Ontario streets.

“It’s not a big pipe, just a small piece. But these guys, anything copper, they steal it and try to sell it as materials for some money.”

With that piece of equipment removed, the water began to flow freely, spraying out into the street. Umar says workers were able to get the water turned off shortly after.

Umar says theft from construction sites in Guelph is a frequent occurrence.

“Every night, there’s lots of break-ins at our contractors’ site trailers,” he says, adding that copper pipes — a favourite among thieves, who sell the metal for scrap — are typically not left on site to prevent them from being stolen.

“At one time, they used to have site trailers and store stuff for the project. But now, you’re dealing with these guys, and they’re bringing tools to break in, no matter what kind of locks you put on.”

Guelph Police Sgt. Doug Pflug says it’s hard to say how many construction site thefts the city sees — the service documents thefts based on addresses, rather than the type of location — but that construction site thieves typically go after copper metals and tools.

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