String of break-ins targeting Greenwich village garages

Cops looking for suspects
Heather Chapin-Fowler
Sep 1, 2013


With copper prices on the rise, thieves are targeting Greenwich residents’ property and stealing a variety of items, according to village police.

There have been five illegal entries into village residents’ garages in the last few weeks, Chief Steve Dorsey said.

While copper isn’t necessarily easy to obtain or collect, that hasn’t deterred the thieves.

“It’s a lot of work,” Dorsey said of the copper-theft trade.

Burglars have been known to gut vacant and newly built homes for not only copper pipes, but also the wiring in the walls.

“They just crack open the receptacle, take the wire and pull it up through the drywall, he said.

In one of the thefts recently, the thieves made off with about 30 extension cords. The owner was storing them in his garage until winter when he annually uses them to display lavish Christmas decorations.

The assortment of extension cords ranged in size from 50 to 100 feet, Dorsey said.

The West Main Street man reported on July 12 that his garage was entered, according to a police report. The resident, who is known in the village for his expansive holiday decorations and displays, had about 30 extension cords taken from a locked shed, Dorsey said.

The burglar stole the key to the shed from the garage to obtain access to the outbuilding, the police report stated.

“It’s really a lot of work, burning it down,” the chief said of collecting and processing the copper for resale scrap.

The thieves generally use a fire pit with a tire, since the rubber burns very hot, under the cover of nightfall so no one can see the black smoke. Then, they throw in the wiring and let the insulation burn off, leaving the copper after the fire dies out.

Once the copper is collected from the ash, it can be balled up and sold.

While most scrap yards now keep records of sellers, not all of them have incorporated the record-keeping into their businesses.

The scrap yards that buy from anonymous customers are usually the ones that end up buying the stolen goods, Dorsey said.

The latest theft into a garage on Seminary Street occurred on Aug. 17, where $850 was reportedly stolen from a locked vehicle, according to a police report.

Ten days prior, also on Seminary Street, another resident reported several tools and four five-gallon buckets of scrap copper were stolen from his garage, a report stated.
On July 20, a Market Street resident reported the theft of a chain saw and cordless drill.

On July 18, a North Railroad Street resident reported a list of what he considered “very unusual items that did not make sense to him,” the officer stated in his report after interviewing the resident. The items included six pair of sunglasses, leather gloves and skull caps, all worn when he rides his motorcycle. A “Rambo-style 12 foreign knife” also was obtained during the theft, the report stated.

In regards to the tools, Dorsey speculated they were targeted primarily for their copper contained inside them. They, too, will likely be stripped and the copper removed since tools generally have traceable serial or identification numbers on them, the chief said.

Officer Aaron Smith said the department had not yet made any arrests.

“We’ll get them eventually,” Smith said.

Smith and Dorsey said the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information about the thefts is encouraged to call the police department at (419)752-5701.



Ummmmmm....I'm confused. How does a police chief not know Ohio Law? Burnt wiring will NOT be taken by ANY Ohio recycling centers due to a new law that went into effect last September. They buy the wiring now as "insulated copper" and is still taken as #1 and #2. I've scraped/recycled metal nearly my whole life on the side and have ALWAYS had to present an ID, or have my picture taken when turning metal in. So to ramble on about how criminals are doing this or doing that is pretty dumb when even if they did that, they couldn't sell it. So OBVIOUSLY this is not what they are doing. If you can't even figure out what the criminals are doing how can you start to stop the criminal behavior? Between the mayor and the police chief its no wonder this little village is in such shambles. Also is Officer Smith the only one with a brain in that place to where he has to investigate everything? Give the man a break and hire some others that are at least half as smart as he is. Officer Smith should be chief (since it sounds like he does the majority of everything at that station) and Larry Risner should be the mayor. That sounds like an excellent start in the right direction!


Greenwich Po-po too busy shakin' down Mennonite buggies with loud exhaust!


Sooner or later they will meet a armed and ready homeowner who will put an end to their little hobby!


Its only a matter of time before this trash is hauled off. But then again, how much of the story is correct with Heather reporting on it?


I agree with you there. She never lets the facts get in the way of a good story. I'm surprised Dorsey even talked to her.


I can't wait for the next Greenwich article, "Burglar Shot In Greenwich Garage".


My husband finds you in our garage, you might get shot. Better be careful.


something just doesnt sound right I don't believe anyone in greenhole has $850 let alone $850 to just leave in there car


Jake i was gonna comment on the fact that it is illegal for scrap yards to buy burnt copper now but ya beat me to it. I honestly can't believe he didn't know that. As far as the comment of the robbers taking the copper out of the tools that were stolen i don't really see that either. Not very much copper in a power tool. I see them using the tools themselves. As far as Officer Smith being the smartest on Greenwich Police force we can agree to disagree on that one whoever wrote that. Aaron have you hit on any pregnant women lately you slime ball. You are a piece of crap and couldn't investigate your way out of a wet paper bag. You got your badge out of cracker jack box. Remember when you left outta Glasner Risners apartment by the drive threw in the middle of the night? The landord (Risner) had to haul 3 truck loads of crap away from that place that you left behind. I watched it with my own eyes. And your suppose to be a pilar in the community. Ya right, maybe Barney Fife


I suppose we can assume that you don't like Smith very much, eh?



I agree completly with 44846GWP homeowners are going to take matters into their own hands, to protect their own property,. And the ELEMENT OF SURPRISE WORKS EVERY TIME, Also ask a Trip-wire Vet how to help you.