As foreclosed homes and properties stand empty and vulnerable, thieves arrive to gut the spaces of valuable materials.

Reuters reports on the increase of copper theft from homes that have been foreclosed on and stand empty as the U.S. economy slows.

Record high prices of copper and other metals make these materials valuable to thieves, and “once-proud homes coast-to-coast are being stripped for copper, aluminum, and brass.” Much of it ends up with scrap metal traders, who ship their plunders overseas to places like China and India.

Some boarded-up homes, Reuters reports, have "No copper, only PVC" painted on the boards to stop would-be thieves.

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