2008_08_copper.jpgIn mid-August, an under-construction Staten Island home was ransacked of its copper piping. Builder John Galarza said, "They did $16,000 [of damage] to collect a thousand to 12 hundred (dollars)," and offered a $5,000 reward. Another house was robbed of its copper (its builder suspects the thief knows "plumbing, because they did a clean job of taking it off"), and Galarza raised the reward to $10,000. Copper thefts aren't new--the Greenpoint Warehouse Terminal fire was allegedly started by a homeless copper thief--but now construction sites are being targeted more often. A third S.I. builder whose sites have been plundered said, "I wish [thieves] had touched one of the valves when it had 350 pounds of pressure on it. That would've been a nice little surprise."