Copper thefts at Orange County businesses on the rise

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Copper and metal thefts are on the rise in some parts of Orange County, prompting deputies to mobilize a special task force to deal with the issue.

One suspect, 49-year-old Stanley Dixon, was just arrested after deputies allegedly caught him in the act of stealing copper at a business on W. Michigan Street in Orlando.

Since January, detectives have seen an increase of copper and metal thefts at businesses on W. Michigan Street. Elgee Broussard works at Tropical Decorators and the business has been a victim of metal thefts three times.

"He was breaking in through here and there and he blocked them walls off," Broussard explained to WFTV reporter Renee Stoll.

Fresh cement on a wall at the business shows where the owner blocked what used to be a window, which thieves were using to break in.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office has their 'problem oriented policing unit' focusing on the rash of metal thefts in the area.  Instead of patrolling outside of the businesses, deputies are trying a different approach by setting up cameras inside to watch what goes on outside.

The unit caught Dixon stripping copper wires at a warehouse on W. Michigan Street, according to detectives. He was booked into the Orange County jail and cannot bond out because he has at least six other open cases for theft.

Although more suspects are involved in the thefts, business owners are glad to see at least Dixon off the streets.

"I think that's good, they need to be caught," Broussard said.