Scottsdale police said two men arrested on suspicion of stealing copper piping earlier this week are part of a larger ring that has been stealing the valuable metal from construction sites and businesses all over the Valley.
William L. Murray, 45, and Keith A. Gren, 40, both of Apache Junction, were arrested about 5:15 a.m. Monday after a witness saw them taking copper piping from Horizon Irrigation on 15517 N. 77th St., Scottsdale police said.
A witness saw Gren and Murray removing copper piping from a fenced-in area at the company, police said.
The men loaded it into a red pickup truck minutes before a Scottsdale officer pulled them over for a routine traffic stop at Raintree Drive east of Hayden Road, according to police.
Officers recovered a large load of copper piping with Horizon Irrigation’s labels on it, and it was believed the men were going to sell it for scrap, police said.
A search warrant was executed later that day at Gren and Murray’s residence, and more copper piping was confiscated, said Sgt. Mark Clark.
“Copper in general is pretty expensive,” Clark said. “We believe the people who are stealing it are taking it and selling it for the weight. This has been a problem in a lot of cities, and we believe there’s more than one group involved in this.”
Copper brings about $1.60 a pound in scrap alone, according to David Collum of Davis Salvage in Phoenix.