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Sheriff: Copper driving burglaries in county

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is advising residents to watch for suspicious activities after several reports of home burglaries and theft of copper piping.

Since December, police have logged burglaries of abandoned and foreclosed properties in Marengo, Wonder Lake and McHenry. A small green truck was seen leaving one location. Burglars often use two vehicles, with one serving as a lookout, the sheriff’s office said.

The offenders forcibly entered the homes and used cutting tools to strip copper pipes from basements, authorities said. It also is common to take air-conditioning units and other appliances containing copper, they said.

Officials suspect the downturn in the economy and the price of copper – between $3 and $4 a pound – are factors for the burglaries. An average house may have 50 to 60 pounds of copper pipes, authorities say.

Anyone with information regarding the burglaries is encouraged to call McHenry County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-762-7867, or the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 815-338-2144. The tip line also is accessible at TipLine@co.mchenry.il.us.

Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of offenders.

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