SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane County Sheriff's Office deals with copper theft cases on a daily basis. Deputies said over the past couple of months, the crime has soared.
The increase mostly comes from thieves breaking into empty houses and cutting into walls, or stripping cell phone towers.
Businesses KREM talked to that are near cell phone towers said they're worried it'll attract criminals. They said they're worried thieves are headed their way any day now. Local recycle companies said they too are more aware of the growing problem. They're now working closer than ever with law enforcement to alert each other on recent cases.
"It's quick," said Doug Stewart with Pacific Steel and Recycling. "If someone is missing something, they can call the recyclers up and the recyclers in the area will all be notified in just a few hours."
Companies like Pacific Steel and Recycling require photo ID every time someone brings brings in something like copper. A check is mailed ten days after it's brought in to make sure everything checks out.
Employees said they're also seeing a spike in aluminum theft in our area.
Deputies said stealing copper is incredibly dangerous. They're shocked no one has gotten hurt doing it here in Spokane, yet.