Updated: 01/10/2014 10:35 PM |
Created: 01/10/2014 9:28 PM
By: Danielle Todesco, KOB Eyewitness News 4
ALBUQUERQUE -- Copper theft is big business for some people, but a local company is working to put the thieves out of business with a simple but effective plan.
KOB Eyewitness News 4 first talked to Keith Mayer more than a year ago. Business had just begun for his invention, a metal bar that prevents the doors to a power box from opening unless you have the key. Business is now booming.
Mayer says they've installed theft deterrent bars on more than 70 power boxes from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.
"We've done numerous churches and I've been contacted by many and given them bids...so they are hitting churches, restaurants, anything they can get ahold of," Mayer said.
Of course, necessity is the mother of invention. Suspected copper thieves—like Joseph Escudero, who was arrested on Thursday—are keeping Mayer in business.
Police say Escudero was caught halfway through a theft at an office building on Juan Tabo. They say he did about $3,000 worth of damage. Compare that to about $1,000 to prevent it with Mayer's invention and word is spreading fast.
"One of the churches in Santa Fe was hit, and we got information from that church on who they hired," Deacon Leonard Martinez said. He manages the property at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary church at 4th and Alameda.
Martinez says they had a deterrent bar installed about a month ago. It protects the power supply to several buildings at the church. It's peace of mind for a very peaceful place.
"We come every morning and see that the transformer is there and not broken into," Martinez said.
Mayer says no one has tampered with any of the boxes he has put a deterrent bar on.