Shredded for Copper
A renovation project on Elmira’s Southside is now a rebuilding project, and a criminal investigation.
Elmira (WENY) - A renovation project on Elmira's Southside is now a rebuilding project, and a criminal investigation. Police are trying to find out who's responsible for tearing the inside of an Elmira home to shreds and stealing the building copper plumbing. It's a little more than $35,000 worth of damage, and police say crimes like this happen a lot more than you might think. Last Thursday, property owner Norfe Pirro went to check on the furnace at his property on Pennsylvania ave, what he found was his house in ruins.
“I started to feel overwhelmed, claustrophobic, I felt like I was taken advantage of and abused, just absolutely sick,” says Pirro.
Someone broke into the house, ripped the copper plumbing out of the walls, took all of the brass faucets in 8 bathrooms and kitchens and even stole the water meter. With all that metal, the culprits could go to a scrap yard to sell the goods. Zach Shulman, the President of Shulman scrap yard, says he works closely with police to try and deter looters from selling their stolen metal at his yard.
“It's definitely a problem, its been a problem for a number of years, and we see more and more of it as time goes on. We work very closely with local police departments, says Shulman. “We have systems in place here where we take people's I.D.'s and put them in our computer system.”
With temperatures way below freezing last week and no plumbing system in place, the furnace at 519 Pennsylvania Ave. cracked and the remaining pipes froze. Leaving Norfe with about $38,000 worth of damage.
He's offering a $1,500 cash reward for anyone who can provide information that can lead police to an arrest.
“I will renovate it I will rent it and I will continue to look for who did it. And you know we may not find them today I may not find them tomorrow but they are going to get caught somewhere, they're going to get caught,” says Pirro.
Police says the best thing to do if you own a vacant home is to lock it up and ask your neighbors to keep an eye on the property.