REDDING, Calif. - Stolen copper downspouts were discovered at a scrap metal yard after a burglary at St. Joseph's Church in Redding.
Early Tuesday morning, brackets holding down solid copper downspouts were chipped away, and drainpipes almost 50-years-old were stripped.
St. Joseph's Maintenance Coordinator Elden Williams said he suspected they would be taken to a scrap metal yard for money.
"Some of them are like 35 to 40 feet long, and then they wiggle them back and forth until they ripped them loose from the sealant," said Williams. "And then they folded them up to get them into a pickup truck, or whatever they were driving. We went out and checked the salvage yards and found they had shown up and they were first in line at one of the salvage yards to get cash on the spot."
Bulldog Scrap Metal Recycling in Redding had at least a few of the pipes.
The owner, Steve Goldman, said that state law requires a three-day waiting period before a customer is paid for the first four visits; however, after those four visits the customer is paid immediately.
The man who brought in the copper had come in several times before, in fact, he'd been there every day during the month of July.
Bulldog Scrap Metal Recycling takes a picture of customers' driver's licenses and what they brought in. That information has been turned over to Redding Police.
So what of the downspouts?
"We're going to give this back to the church, and yeah, we are out the money, unless he's prosecuted and he'll have to pay restitution, so we'll wait until that point," Goldman said. "But usually we never get to collect that. We never see the money."
The thieves did stay away from areas with security lights. Elden said he's planning to add some in the area where the downspouts were stolen.