Law officers ask for help fighting copper theft

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Law enforcement officers say they need help stemming the rampant theft of copper from air conditioning units and farm irrigation systems around South Carolina.

A House Judiciary subcommittee heard testimony Wednesday from officers, farmers and scrap metal recyclers on how to do just that.

Jeff Moore of the South Carolina Sheriffs' Association says officers are so frustrated and overworked investigating copper theft that they're willing to accept almost any legislation that might slow down the crime.

Moore says copper theft is the number-one crime in some rural counties. He says thieves are getting bolder in destroying people's property for a few dollars' worth of copper.

Sod farmer John Fogle says copper thieves have cost him $60,000 over two years.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)