Developer Charles Mcfarlane of Property Results was showing the building at 25th and Main Streets to a perspective tenant when he noticed water pouring out onto the floor and a collegue noticed a stack of stripped copper by a doorway.
Macfarlane had an uncomfortable realization: whoever was stripping copper out of his building might still be there.
He left the building and called the police. Within minutes there were about 10 police cruisers — marked and unmarked — and a K-9 unit outside the building.
The search of the 60,000-square-foot building was ongoing as of 11:15.
Macfarlane purchased the Lorillard Tobacco Company building last August from Forrest City for $2 million and hopes to renovate it for an office user.
Detective George Mahalcoe, of Richmond police department, said copper theives have been a big problem in the city.
“It’s because of the economy,” Mihalcoe said. “On the market, copper will fetch $3 per pound.”