Often times there're no witnesses or evidence only the missing copper. Houston Police Departmet Captain Ceaser Moore oversees the burglary and theft division. He says every month there are about 250 metal-related thefts. Since the beginning of this year 106 cases involve copper being stolen from churches.
"Usually it's drug related. They'll steal an air conditioning unit, the metal out of it and they may get $40 up to $80 for the copper parts out of it. Once they use that up in drugs then they go and do it at another location a typical thief of this nature does it three or four cases a week."
Moore has worked in the division for about three years and he's seen the price of copper go from under a dollar a pound to more than four dollars a pound. One of the three suspects has plead guilty and received ten months in jail. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.