IT may seem like an “easy get for a quick buck” but Border thieves after copper wire are unlikely to get very far.
Police and scrap metal recyclers say stolen copper wire — a recurring crime on the Border — is usually easy to identify.
The warning comes as copper valued at about $300 was stolen from Pfeiffer’s Winery at Wahgunyah at the weekend.
Acting Sgt Paul Ryder, of Rutherglen, said thieves had cut a wire fence at the back of the winery in Distillery Road and driven on to the property on Saturday night or Sunday morning.
The culprits stole about 20 metres of copper wire in two reels of about a metre in diameter.
“It was from an old air conditioning unit, so would be fairly easily identifiable,” Sgt Ryder said.
“We’ll certainly be speaking to scrap metal merchants.”
The previous copper-wire theft was in April, when about $5000 of it was stolen from the railway line between Barnawartha and Wodonga.
Sgt Ryder said the crime was “one of those things that pop up randomly” and it was worth reminding residents and business owners to lock up their properties.
“Copper can be a pretty hot item to be stealing,” he said.
“Thieves get desperate for this product because it’s an easy dollar — an easy quick buck.”
The manager of Murray Valley Recyclers, Kamahl Davis, said most scrap recyclers were pretty savvy to the crime and could easily spot stolen wire.
Mr Davis said much of the product was tendered or tagged, allowing it to be identified and reported to police.
Recyclers also knew which tradesmen and others came to them regularly with scrap metal after their jobs, meaning an unfamiliar face would spark suspicion.
“We haven’t seen too much stolen wire for some time,” he said.
“There was a time a while ago when we were seeing drastic amounts of copper.
“It can get up to four to five dollars a kilo and, being so dense, it doesn’t take much to build the weight up,” he said.
“It’s a quick easy grab for a thief.”