(WJLA) - The copper thieves are stealthy, sneaking in at night and stealing something valuable - but not necessarily eye-catching.
A call first came in about stolen copper wires at one location. Once investigators started looking around, they discovered the thief or thieves had been very busy, hitting schools, businesses, and anywhere else they could find copper.
At the Jaycee's in Waldorf, someone stripped their light poles Wednesday night.
"We just couldn't believe that people would do that, that people would come out and vandalize for copper," said Jaycees manager, Kim Lukas.
"So far I've counted eight of them and that's just in the back of the building and I haven't even looked in the front," said employee Jason Parris.
The spike in thefts is linked to a rise in the price of copper. Thieves sell it for a few bucks at scrap yards. But it isn't just the cost of replacing the copper wires that is causing problems at the Jaycees -- the thefts also mean that these lights no longer work.
Some of the seniors who use this place now worry about their nocturnal visits. And while some businesses plan to replace their copper wires and invest in protective measures to discourage future thefts, they also hope for the necessary arrests.