Copper Thievery in South Eastern New Mexico


One of the “charms” of a small town newspaper is the publisher is often willing to splash the name and face of criminals and criminal suspects all over the front page. The following article written by Jessica Palmer of the Roswell Daily Record discloses that suspect Chad Charney has been charged with stealing copper pipe from the old New Mexico alcohol and substance abuse Rehabilitation Center(I believe this is the same building that was formerly the Roswell Army Air Field hospital where the aliens who crashed near Roswell were taken).

A quick glance at the countenance of Mr. Charney reminds one of a cross between Gomer Pyle and Charles Manson. I am guessing he was selling the stolen copper at a local recycling center and then buying meth, crack cocaine, or heroin. Too bad the Rehab Center has closed its doors because Charney was at the right place but with the wrong purpose. Poor guy, stealing one substance so he can consume an addictive substance. A fate worse than death it seems. Addiction is a cruel master and parents should be alert to the fact that their addict children might be living rent free.

The Record Staff Writer’s article also informs us that 9 separate copper thefts have occurred in “this region” during June alone. Her usage of region was ambiguous. Not really sure if she meant Roswell or in the region including Dexter, Hagerman, Artesia, Carlsbad,Hobbs, Portales, Farmington, Eunice, Jal aka south-eastern NM.

Finally, the copper heister was apprehended when RPD detective Robert Scribner matched copper in the inventory of a local recycling center with copper at the old rehab facility.

I kindly ask anybody reading this article to report any copper theft incidents in your respective regions. Any reports of copper stealing from any place in the world would raise awareness of the scope of the issue. You can leave anonymous comments if you do not want to identify yourself.  Thanks!

Stealing and selling copper pipes in Roswell,NM

41 comments on “Copper Thievery in South Eastern New MexicoAdd yours →

  1. People stealing copper has gotten way out of control in Roswell. This is from the Police Blotter of the Roswell Daily Record:

    Police responded to a call to a construction site in the 900 block of West Hobbs Street where subjects removed two 1000-foot spools of copper wire, valued at $500.

    Warning to all you scumbags who are stealing copper from new home construction sites in Roswell,NM: New home sites are always under video surveillance. You will be caught! Don’t forget that many citizens of Roswell legally carry weapons and if they see you on their property stealing copper being used to build their house then …………..

    1. More copper being ripped off. This time from a small business at 3500 N Main in Roswell on February 12th 2013:

      Police were called to the 3500 block of North Main Street, Monday, after subjects removed a three-quarter inch socket set, 5,000 feet of copper wire and Nema 3R electrical box from the bed of a work truck. The items were valued at $1,609.

    2. Police were dispatched to the 900 block of east Jefferson Street. An Xcel representative reported that a transformer was destroyed when thieves stole 200 dollars worth of copper. The cost of repairing transformer will be $2000. Just remember, next time you do not have electricity, it may be because lowlifes who belong in jail are tearing up a transformer to steal and sell the copper. The people who buy the copper from the rip off artists should be prosecuted as well. They know it is stolen!

      1. Police responded to call from 1200 block north Washington avenue where subjects removed undisclosed amount of copper from backyard. Source: police blotter roswell,nm

    3. Police officer called to Sunny Acres Senior Assistance on South Union in response to a break-in, in which copper pipe was stolen. Damage to main entry was around $200. Roswell, nm is worse than Washington,DC in all major crime statistics.

      1. Police dispatched to 400 block of north Michigan Avenue in Roswell where a burglary of a home foreclosed upon by Bank of America resulted in $50 worth of copper tubing being ripped off. Water heater destroyed probably to strip out copper.
        Suspects in this case live nearby.

  2. In the following police blotter report, a home is flooded due to copper pipes being stolen! I would not have much mercy for a thief who ripped out my copper plumbing which, in turn, caused a flood leading to an expensive plumber’s bill! It comes to us from and happened in Lawrence Township, New Jersey :

    A burglary in which thousands of dollars worth of copper pipes were stolen, causing a water leak that completely flooded the basement of a home, in under investigation, Lawrence Township Police Department spokesman Lt. Mark Ubry said.

    He said the break-in occurred to a vacant house in the 200 block of Lawrence Road (Route 206) sometime between May 20 and Monday, June 4.

    The owner called police at 1:58 p.m. on June 4 after he went to check on the property and discovered the damage, Ubry said. He said water filled the basement almost all the way up to the first floor, completely covering the home’s electrical panel.

    PSE&G personnel responded to shut off power, while a crew from Trenton Water Works came out to turn off the water, he said. In addition to the copper pipes that were taken, a condenser for an air conditioning unit was stolen, he said.

    Preliminary investigation suggests the burglar(s) gained entry to the residence by breaking a window, Ubry said.

    The break-in is being investigated by Officer Andres Mejia and members of the township detective bureau.

  3. The following piece by Eddie Garcia of details the prevalence of copper thefts in Albuquerque, NM. Copper thieves cruise around town scoping out areas with a lot of “for sale” signs. This might indicate to a rational burglar that the home is unoccupied making it that much more vulnerable and easier to burglarize.

    Real estate broker Randy Holman said the thieves are literally going underneath homes listed for sale and stripping away all of the copper pipes.

    He said home “for-sale” signs are a realtor’s calling card and the more visible they are, the more likely to attract potential buyers, but those signs are attracting more than those looking to buy a new home.

    “Thieves are obviously driving around looking for homes that have signs in front of them,” Holman said.

    He said thieves hit one of his for-sale listings in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights earlier this month.

    “They took everything, all the copper that was under the house,” Holman said.

    Copper currently sells for about $3.70 per pound – a lucrative venture for thieves if they’re able to steal all the pipes under a house.

    Copper thieves are using the crawl space under a house to gain access to the pipes, and Holman said sellers and realtors need to take precautions to deter thieves.

    “They need to secure these crawl spaces – they need to put locks on them,” he said.

    Holman also suggests making an agreement with your neighborhood watch or a network of neighbors who can keep an eye on your property when you’re gone.

    Insurance covered the damage to Holman’s real-estate listing.

    He said police told him similar thefts have been happening to a lot of other vacant homes in Albuquerque.

  4. Did anybody see that piece about detective robert Scribner running through yards and jumping over fences to catch that meth head who was stealing copper. I may be wrong about the detective, but it happened in Albuquerque or Roswell.

  5. You know there is a serious problems with copper being stolen when a top Google search is ” how to steal copper pipes in New Jersey “.
    Somebody in in Roswell New Mexico had the guts of their air conditioner completely ripped out just for the copper!
    Many of these copper thieves will find out the hard way that many of the newer homes have 24/7 360 degree surveillance cameras.
    A copper robber was caught based on the footage from one of these cameras in Roswell,NM a few months back.

  6. This was in the RDR as another account of copper tubing and copper wire being stolen in Roswell:

    Police responded to the 100 block of Lighthall Place, Saturday, after subjects entered a storage area and removed copper tubing, 500 feet of no. 14 electric wire, 500 feet of no. 12 electric wire and 100 feet of 12-2 wire. The victim estimated the value of the copper and wire at $1,000.

    1. Copper thieves steal copper from Air Conditioner at a Church in Roswell,New Mexico. Damage and loss estimated at $2000.
      Police were called to the Church of Christ at 1512 S. Main St., Monday where subjects damaged an air conditioning unit and removed the copper. The damages and replacement costs were estimated at $2,000

    2. $7300 worth of copper pipe was stolen in the 500 block of south Missouri after perps kicked in the doors to a garage and a shed. This was reported in the RDR police blotter. Camera surveillance from across the street has grainy but identifiable images of the thief.

  7. Police were called to C. Reading Plumbing, 217 E. McGaffey St., Friday, where subjects cut through to a storage room and removed $1,748 worth of copper pipe and tubing.

    With all the federal laws regulations and high taxes in place these days, it is already tough for a business owner to get ahead. People who break into and steal from a man’s business should get a minimum of 10 years in jail.

    1. An unknown subject made off with $1,800 worth of copper wire from a light pole at the Wool Bowl, 1800 N. Grand Ave., according to a Roswell Police Department incident report. The property belongs to the Roswell Independent School District.

      I believe the above copper theft happened jan 4rth

      1. More crooks stealing copper. Maybe the city of Roswell should look at prosecuting people who purchase copper knowing that it has been ripped off.

        Police were dispatched to Aerosierra Engineering & Manufacturing, 933 E. Jefferson St., Thursday, after subjects gained access to a generator by breaking a window. They obtained 40 to 50 pounds of copper, cut electrical wiring and pulled out the fuses. The subjects left the fuses behind. The company representative estimated total damages of $3,000.

  8. If you have AC Unit that is not fenced in, be on the lookout for Copper thieves. Our air conditioning unit is videoed 24/7 and will bust somebody and make sure they spend quite a bit of time in jail if thieves destroy it for the copper.

    Police were dispatched to 1200 block of South Atkinson Avenue, Tuesday, after subjects dismantled a central air conditioning unit. Pipes and copper wire were cut, and the Freon escaped. The victim estimated replacement costs at $2,000.

  9. Police responded to 900 block of E. Alameda where a century link rep. reported that copper wire had been stripped from a phone junction box causing $3000 worth of damage.

  10. Police were called to the 300 block of Twin Diamond Road, Wednesday. A representative of Xcel Energey told officals that subjects cut the copper, valued at $300, from a transformer and from a cable junction box.

  11. Aero Sierra Engineering , 933 e. Jefferson , had a section of brick wall knocked down so burglars could remove copper wire from machines and a fuse box. This and other items stolen totaled $15,600. Perps obviously knew what was inside or they would not have destroyed brick wall.

    Residence at 100 block of east alameda street had some copper wire ripped off after thieves gained access via rear door. A Yamaha guitar was also reported missing.

  12. Police responded to the 100 block of East Third, Wednesday, after an employee walked into work and decided the air conditioner didn’t sound right. After checking on the unit, they discovered the copper had been removed from the system.

    Police were called to the Pampered Lady, 309 N. Main St., Wednesday, where subjects took $40 worth of copper from the air conditioner.

    1. Copper thieves Serena Escamilla, Jorge Zamora, and Danielle Lucero were arrested and charged in 6 separate burglaries. Stolen property also included ammunition and identification papers. All three perps were stealing to support their meth addiction it appears. They were drug pushers as well.

  13. Police were summoned to 1200 block of north Michigan where burglars entered a home that was being remodeled. The thieves destroyed walls in order to strip out copper wires and sell the copper. Incident was captured on video and local authorities are close to apprehending perpetrators.

  14. Police were called to General Electric at 4501 n main where subjects gained access to building and dug 10 feet of copper wire valued at $100 from the walls causing $500 worth of damage

  15. Police were called to 3300 Bandolina Ave Saturday, where subjects stripped copper from an air conditioning unit. This is from the Roswell,nm police blotter where copper wire is reported stolen weekly.

  16. No jail sentence will be too short for Calvin Reese or Myranda Salayandia for the identity theft, forgery and fraud they committed by stealing purses and wallets from church and bar parking lots. My niece was one of the identity theft victims and she is on the phone every day and writing letters trying to get her credit score restored. What Reese and Salyandia did hurts more than stealing copper

    1. Randal Seyler of the RDR wrote a piece that underscores the widespread nature of fraud in Chaves county. Gene Reames, an elderly Roswell resident, received a 100 dollar gift card redeemable at Target or Walmart. To use this card, a 1 dollar charge would be billed to her credit card. Sandra Titus her daughter recognized it was a phishing scam before her loving mother took the bait.

  17. A heat pump was destroyed after copper was stolen from a local business on 400 block of east college blvd in Roswell,nm. Damages to heat pump estimated at over $3000.

  18. Patrick Landrum of Grants,NM was arrested for stealing copper wires and damaging fiber optic cables. This caused a 9 hour blackout in Cibola and McKinley counties. Century Link reported the crime to New Mexico State Police. I knew Patrick in High School and was shocked his life has been reduced to ripping off copper and disrupting internet/phone service

    1. Just read they got the same guy for stealing copper wire from light poles at Exit 85 on Interstate 40. Also Landrum was arrested for driving with suspended license,running away from cops,criminal damage to private property, and possession of burglary tools. Other than that, this guy is an upstanding, exemplary citizen in the great state of New Mexico!!

  19. Roswell police blotter reports a scorpion sculpted from copper, worth $500, was stolen from the 900 block of Avenida Mañana. Somebody knows who ripped it off! Do the right thing and report the scumbags responsible!

  20. Roswell New Mexico water department is reviewing surveillance video of copper fittings being stolen from one of their trucks. The lowlife thief also stole a toolbox from the city of Roswell. Ripping off from municipalities is federal offense which will land the punk some time in correctional facility.

    Estimated cost of pilfered items was $450.

  21. Frank Martin, of mountainair New Mexico, is livid that his home was ransacked and his electrical system was disabled because lowlife punks tore it all up just to steal copper and resale it in Albuquerque. Martin was interviewed on KOB news and probably is living on a fixed income. His walking cane indicates he is partially handicapped making the copper thiefs sociopathic scum who should be locked up.

    1. Understand that eyesore junkyard property owner of Roswell Ernest “Rod” Tricarico is the result of him following orders from the city and county to remove abandoned mobile homes. He has had to deal with meth heads vandalizing and stealing metal from the hard secure property.

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