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Ohio leads country in insurance claims for copper theft

September 9, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio leads the country in the number of insurance claims for thefts of copper and other kinds of metals, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The report shows that Ohio reported 4,438 insurance claims for metal theft from homes and businesses from 2012 through 2014, with most involving thefts of copper.

Ohio reported far more claims than Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, California and New York. Those states each reported more than 2,000 claims but fewer than 3,000, The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1g96gBc ) reported.

Nationally, claims peaked in 2012. But claims in Ohio are three times higher than they were in 2009. The newspaper reported that the reason for Ohio’s high claims rate isn’t clear.

Dustyn Fox, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Homeland Security, said metal and copper wiring thefts could lead to higher costs for consumers and the potential risk of terrorism from thieves who could ship proceeds from stolen items overseas.

The state has created an electronic registry to coordinate scrap metal sales and track the activities of sellers and their individual vehicles. It’s intended to help law enforcement officials solve scrap metal theft cases.

Columbus reported the most claims tied to metal thefts among Ohio cities, with more than 570 over the three years. The U.S Department of Energy has estimated that metal thefts cost U.S. businesses $1 billion a year.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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