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Plumbing theft throwing a wrench in the works of businesses
According to a recent report, fast food restaurants, churches, warehouses, and other types of businesses are reporting more and more thefts of plumbing parts from their washrooms.
One reason for this: The price of copper often used in pipes or pipe fittings remains at near historic highs, and that means so, too, does the amount of copper getting stolen.
The report, published on DigitalJournal.com, says that along with copper, the thefts typically involve flush valves and handles, outdoor pipes, toilet parts, and motion control sensors that trigger toilets and urinals to flush.
While some of these parts are relatively inexpensive, the motion control sensors can be quite pricey, costing several hundred dollars.
Many of the thefts take place during business hours, take only about three to five minutes, and happen even when other people are in the washroom.
"Apparently, some of these thieves are so good at what they do, they just enter the restroom with a concealed wrench and go to work," says Klaus Reichardt, founder and CEO of Waterless Co, maker of waterless urinal systems. "Within a few minutes, they are out the door and no one knows what happened."
According to the report, fast food restaurants are one of the main targets for plumbing theft. Several Burger Kings in the Knoxville, Tennessee area have recently been hit, as well as fast food restaurants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"Because most of the plumbing parts really do not sell for that much money," says Klaus, "what I think may really be happening is not theft but vandalism."
He adds that washroom vandalism is a big concern around the country and, "without rhyme or reason," becomes more prevalent at different times of the year.
"Vandalism is actually one reason why some facilities install no-water urinals and similar devices," he adds. "They have no exposed plumbing."
Klaus is founder and CEO of Waterless, Co., manufacturer of No-Flush Urinals, Vista, Calif. He founded the company in 1991 with the goal of establishing a new market segment in the plumbing fixture industry with water conservation in mind.
20th June 2013