Suspected copper theives cause early morning stir in Shockoe

Police raided a vacant tobacco factory in Shockoe Bottom this morning trying to catch copper thieves in the act.

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.”

Police raided a vacant tobacco factory in Shockoe Bottom this morning trying to catch copper thieves in the act.

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.”

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