• Copper, aluminum stolen from business, homeless shelter


    ORLANDO, Fla. - A massive amount of metal was stolen from an Orlando business.

    How the thieves got away with it is still unclear.

    Right around the same time, thieves were also ripping off copper at the new Coalition for the Homeless Men's center being built.

    Crooks broke into a metal storage container on 35th Street near L B McLeod and then on west Central Boulevard near the Amway Center.

    The amount of metal stolen could go up and down the 441-foot-tall Suntrust building almost 110 times.

    Val Chu, CEO of Potential Electric, hopes scrap yards can yield a clue as to who stole nearly 50,000 feet of aluminum and copper wiring from his business.

    He's hoping the thieves who committed the theft will be arrested, but he's also amazed at how they cut the quarter-inch metal lock he's used for 10 years.

    "I don't know what kind of machine they used, but I know it's got to be pretty heavy-duty otherwise they would not be able to cut it like this here," Chu said.

    Once inside the metal container, the thieves took hundreds of coils weighing at least 30 pounds each.

    All of it was to be used for a hotel near Universal Studios.

    Chu said it must have taken four or five men to move more than $50,000 of aluminum and copper.

    The thieves will have to do a lot of work to make money off the items -- it takes two or three of his men up to three hours to make one spool.

    "They have to take out these connecters here, pull the wire out," Chu said.

    It's not the only place hit up in Orlando.

    In the last two days, thieves stole more than 360 feet of copper from the new Coalition for the Homeless building under construction.

    "Anybody who steals from somebody else, that's just wrong. And then when you add to it that it's being stolen from a community project that's going to be helping people it just blows my mind," said Muffet Robinson with the Coalition for the Homeless.

    In cases like this, the company takes the hit. Cops are hoping scrap yards will notice if large amounts of aluminum or copper show up.

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    Copper, aluminum stolen from business, homeless shelter