(WJLA) - The theft took place in broad daylight at around 11 a.m. in Northwest. Caught by a surveillance camera, you can see a man on a cell phone scouting out his crime.
It was several days before homeowner Donald Donahue realized what had happened - the copper thief ripped the downspout right off the building:
"He took one downspout down and went to the other side of the house and took the other downspout down, folded them up, and then walked out and drove off."
The thief cased the 2800 block of Northampton Street before choosing Donahue's house. The neighbors recently installed a surveillance camera, which was trained on everything he did - it even caught the suspect walking from house to house, looking for the perfect situation.
We showed the video to other residents of this upper Northwest block. They were shocked at how quickly the crime occurred.
Now, new gutters need to be installed at Donahue's house - something he would rather not have to do. . "It's a sense of violation," he says. "This is my home and it's needless and annoying. And the guy was obviously handy. He should get a job."
Experts say copper prices have leveled since the recession, but they are still high enough that thieves want to steal it. What the thief got from Donahue's house was probably worth no more than $40, as the market for copper is about $2.50 per pound.