By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
About $50,000 worth of copper construction materials was stolen on Sunday from the Sheridan College campus, a Sheridan Police spokesman told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.
On Sunday afternoon, Sheridan police investigated a reported theft and determined a 26 foot double-axel enclosed trailer belonging to Powder River Heating and Cooling had been stolen, along with the materials inside.
The suspect forced their way onto the job site by cutting the locks on a gate, according to department spokesman Captain Tom Ringley.
“This would be industrial-level stuff, which is what we usually see when we do have copper thefts in Sheridan, which is not that often,” Ringley said. “This is the first one we’ve seen in several years.”
Police currently have no description of the thief or thieves.
The trailer was recovered Monday morning at another location on campus, but the construction materials inside were gone. The estimated value of the copper materials is at least $50,000.
Ringley said that copper thieves will usually take their stolen goods to scrap metal dealers or recyclers, hoping to score big money for their wares. As of Monday, the price of copper was $4.36 per pound.
The Sheridan Police Department has been in touch with neighboring cities and metal recyclers, asking them to be on the lookout for large amounts of copper construction materials coming through.
Copper thefts are common, but according to the FBI, copper thieves threaten the nation’s infrastructure.
The FBI said that copper thefts disrupt the flow of electricity, telecommunications, transportation, water supply, heating, security and emergency services and present a risk to both public safety and national security.