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Metal thieves leave valley business in the dark for 3 days

Metal thieves not only stole steal pipes leaving several Rancho Mirage business without running water Monday, but they put another business in the dark for 3 days so far.

Employees at Patio Place in the shopping center on Monterey Ave. and Dinah Shore say thieves targeted the store sometime Friday night into Saturday morning. They say they stole equipment from the electrical box behind the business, forcing them to shut down until they can get it repaired.

Sales employee Peter Koroczynsky says this isn’t the first time thieves have targeted the business.

“This is actually the second time our business has been hit. They had the entire air conditioning system that was cannibalized from the roof of the business last summer,” Koroczynsky said.

The store is taking a financial hit due to the theft and having to be closed.

“We’re at the hype of season, we’ve got a lot of business that we’re doing right now, this is our time of year,” Koroczynsky said.

The Coachella Valley Water District, who responded to repair the stolen pipes from businesses in Rancho Mirage Monday, say it’s been a record year in metal thefts.
In 2012, Imperial Irrigation District spent a record $1 million dollars in repairs due to metal thefts.

“Well, I think that tough times makes people do tough things,” said Mario Pimentel, Superintendent Troublshooter at IID.

The increased number of thefts even led to former Assemblyman Brian Nestande to introduce two bills to help prevent metal thefts, including AB 2312 that was signed into law requiring metal recycling centers to subscribe to a metal theft alert system.

Since then, IID says it began its own anti-theft campaign to fight back.

“It has cost us a lot of money to do it but if we do it for the safety of our customers and our personnel, and of course our system, the integrity of our system is very important to us,” said Pimentel.

And the numbers shows the campaign is working. Last year metal thefts cost the agency $800,000 in damage. This year, down to $500,000.

IID also offers up to a $2,500 reward to anyone who reports information leading to a metal theft arrest.

“We ask that the public gives us a hand, because it not only affects us and our staff, it affects everybody,” Pimentel said.

IID says in recent years, copper has gone from 70 cents a pound to more than $3 a pound.

For more information on copper theft, visit or call 1-800-303-7756

KESQ News Team

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