Posted on February 26, 2018 by ANR Restoration
Copper theft remains a disturbingly common problem in many communities, particularly for those who own vacant properties. Whether you are leaving for a long vacation or conducting major renovations, your house or other building is vulnerable to thieves whenever it sits unattended. With copper prices rising again, thefts may increase as well. If you arrive at your property one day and see signs of vandalism, don't panic. These steps can help you minimize your losses and restore your property quickly.
When you suspect that your property has been broken into and vandalized, approach the site with caution. Not only might there still be vandals on the property, but they may have left hazardous conditions in their wake. Malfunctioning wiring, plumbing, and appliances can all pose dangers to unaware property owners.
Always enter a vandalized building with caution until you have assessed the situation. Shut off water and power to the building before proceeding. Avoid any standing water, broken glass, or exposed wiring, and watch for evidence of fires. If you are at all concerned about your safety during this step, notify the police immediately and ask to be escorted onto your property.
Once you know your property is secure, you can begin documenting the crime and filing reports with local police and your insurance company. Provide as much evidence as you can, including written descriptions of the damage, photographs, and the last time you saw the property in proper order. By acting quickly, you will hopefully be able to help catch the thieves and recover your losses in full.
Some repairs are more urgent than others. Broken plumbing, for example, can quickly flood a home and cause mold issues. Similarly, ripped-out wiring may pose a fire or electrical hazard. You must complete these repairs before turning on the lights and water. A vacant home may be able to wait on these critical repairs, but if you're coming home from vacation, you may need an emergency contractor service.
Additionally, if your structure had its windows broken, now is the time to board them up until you can install replacements. This not only protects the structure from further vandalism, but also the elements. Taking this quick step can save you thousands of dollars in extra renovation costs later on.
After discussing the case with your insurance company, you can begin the process of renovation. Commonly stolen appliances include air conditioners and water heaters. In most cases, you must also install new copper pipes. While wiring is sometimes skipped due to its small returns, it is often stripped as well.
Correcting vandalism like this is best left to seasoned contractors. Professionals can assess the extent of the repairs needed and coordinate to bring your property back into its old working order. You will likely need to enlist the services of plumbers, electricians, and damage contractors to restore everything within local regulations.
Copper thieves know to target certain parts of a house or business to find the most copper, and they may cause additional destruction as they seek valuable pipes and wires. To move quickly, they will often smash windows and walls to access the inner workings of a structure. This leaves behind another unsightly mess that needs to be cleaned up and repaired.
Once the infrastructure of your building is functional again, it's time to restore its public face. This means filling in holes, replacing broken flooring, applying new paint, and dealing with any lingering problems like mold, smoke stains, or orders. If your home or business has suffered copper theft vandalism recently, contact us.