New Brunswick

Thieves target copper wire in industrial park break-ins

Police in Saint John are investigating a spree of break-ins at the city's McAllister Industrial Park over the past few weeks.

Saint John police major crime unit investigates thefts from at least 5 businesses

Thieves broke the locks of several storage containers at Kelson and Kelson in Saint John's McAllister Industrial Park. Thousands of dollars worth of copper cable was removed. (CBC Roger Cosman)

Police in Saint John are investigating a spree of break-ins at the city's McAllister Industrial Park over the past few weeks.

At least five companies were targeted by the thieves, who were after copper wire.

At one business, industrial coatings contractor Kelson and Kelson, the thieves broke the locks on seven sea containers used for storage, said company president Terry Kelson.

They definitely know what they're after, they know what they're looking for.- Terry Kelson, company president

Then they removed 600-volt power cables and wheeled them to a waiting vehicle, using wheelbarrows found at the site.

Kelson said he suspects as many as four people were involved.

The scale of the operation makes him believe this was more than petty crime.

"I think they're too organized," Kelson said. "They definitely know what they're after, they know what they're looking for. ... They went after the stuff they could recycle, the copper wire and things like that, and metals.

"When you take that many break-ins all at the same time, it's probably definitely organized."

Thieves looking for copper wire hit at least five companies in the McAllister Industrial Park in east Saint John in recent weeks. (CBC)
Kelson estimated the missing cables from his business were worth about $10,000.

The most recent break-ins at McAllister Industrial Park, which is off Bayside Drive in east Saint John, occurred this past weekend.

Other companies that confirmed break-ins were Hertz Equipment Rentals, Jamac Painting and Sandblasting, Carter Brothers Ltd., and Debway Truck Bodies.

Sgt. Chuck Breen of the Saint John police said the major crime unit is investigating the thefts. He would not provide the names of the businesses that were hit and didn't know the total value of the stolen copper wire.

"They will melt the wire down, so they can take the coating over top of the wire and get rid of it," Breen said.

"Last I heard they were getting probably somewhere about a dollar a pound for the copper. And there's a fair amount of pounds of wire in one of the spools that they are trying to target during the thefts."