It's a new twist on an old crime and it's costing Valley business owners thousands of dollars.
Jerry Bianco pointed out the damage behind a Scottsdale office building, near the Loop 101 freeway and Raintree Drive.
Bianco is a property manager who said that he's tired of cleaning up after crooks stealing metal downspouts, used to direct water away from buildings.
"I've had three different properties hit with this, just in the last week," said Bianco. "It's terribly frustrating. It ends up costing the property owners hundreds and thousands of dollars."
Authorities believe the downspouts are being stolen late at night when no one is around, with retail centers and office buildings being the biggest targets.
The downspouts themselves weigh between 10 and 15 pounds.
CBS-5 news did some research and found Scottsdale isn't the only place where downspouts are being ripped away.
It appears to be a growing trend across the Valley and around the country, despite the fact crooks aren't making a lot of money from the metal.
Downspouts are typically made of a brass nickel alloy, which is worth far less than copper, the pricey metal thieves have been after for the past few years.
"If they're taking them to the scrap yard they're not going to get much more than they would for a bag full of aluminum cans," Bianco said.
Sgt. Mark Clark with the Scottsdale Police Department said that just because crooks aren't making a "big score" doesn't mean they won't commit the crime.
"You have criminals, drug addicts, tweakers who are looking for a quick buck," said Clark. "They talk to friends who say they got this and got some money for it. The criminal mentality is hard to rationalize. They are looking at the quickest buck they can get."
According to Clark, a crime trend like this will eventually go away if the thieves aren't making a lot of money.
They'll simply move on to something else.
"You're damaging other people's property to make a few bucks," said Bianco. "Just not a good thing to do."
Copyright 2012 KPHO. Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
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