Thieves stealing shutters in Palm Beach

Metal theft is on the rise in Palm Beach County

PALM BEACH, Fla. - Palm Beach is known for its wealth, but it's the value of aluminum that's costing some homeowners their hurricane shutters.

"They took this one and all along the back," said Peter Codispoti, gesturing to now bare windows and French doors on the back of a Palm Beach home.

Codispoti couldn't believe what he was seeing. Twenty hurricane shutters from the back the house, many seven feet tall, are now gone.

"They take the wingnuts off on the top and the bottom and they were all laying across the floor here," he said, pointing to the hurricane shutter track at the top and bottom of one of the sets of French doors.

Codispoti is a caretaker for one of three homes in Palm Beach that thieves hit for hurricane shutters last week.

Police say with high prices for metal, more than a dollar a pound for aluminum alone, more criminals are stealing shutters. The crimes don't stop there. Builders in Palm Beach are seeing more theft as well.

"Somebody came in and they actually cut pipe out of the ceiling and electrical wire and they scrapped it," explained Ernie Russo, a plumber who has worked in Palm Beach for years.

Russo said that happened twice at the same home site recently. He and his fellow workers are keeping a close eye on the neighborhoods where they work, which may help police find the people responsible for stealing the shutters off the house across the street.

"We were actually working that day and somebody saw someone taking the shutters off his house," Russo said. "I know things are tough in the world. We're all trying to make a living, but that's not the way."

Police and metal recycling centers are keeping a close watch for anything suspicious. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, call Palm Beach Police at (561) 838-5454.

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