INDIANAPOLIS – Thieves stole copper pipe from a freezer at the state’s largest food bank, wasting nearly half a million dollars worth of food meant to help the poor, police said.
The copper theft was captured by security cameras Friday night, police said, but the freezer’s failure wasn’t discovered until Monday. By then, thousands of pounds of groceries at the Gleaners Food Bank had become unusable.
It was the third time in two months that copper had been taken from Gleaners. The food bank serves more than 300,000 people through more than 400 pantries and charities in 20 central Indiana counties.
The theft could cost Gleaners $464,000 in lost food, plus $20,000 for immediate repairs. Gleaners will work this week to solicit more donations and plans to continue distributing its nonperishable food.
Copper can be sold for around $3 per pound, and thefts have become common across the country. In the food bank’s case, it is unlikely the thieves got more than a few hundred dollars if they sold all the copper tubing to a scrap yard, police Lt. Jeff Duhamell said.