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After a huge copper theft ring was busted by Arizona Department of Public Safety investigators in southern Arizona, residents are questioning whether metal theft is decreasing in the Valley.

"It's not getting better," said Sgt. Theresa Clark with Phoenix Police Metal Theft Unit. "It's staying the same right now."

Clark said they have established successful relationships with scrap metal yards, but metal thieves are still finding ways to succeed.

Locally, abandoned or vacant homes are a hot spot for this type of criminal activity.

"Suspects are going in and taking copper out of walls, whether it be pipes or copper wire, they're taking it all," said Clark.

Copper thieves also set their sights on residential and commercial air conditioning units, catalytic converters on cars and even bronze vases at cemeteries.

Clark said it's critical for residents and business owners to be vigilant, secure property and call police if witnessing suspicious activity.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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