A copper downspout Credit: Flickr photo by Kerry Lannert

Police in Chevy Chase Village say they’ve seen four recent thefts and attempted thefts of copper downspouts, usually involving a suspect or suspects trying to manually pull the downspout off the outside of homes.

The latest incident happened at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at a home on Primrose Street between Connecticut Avenue and Brookville Road, according to Village Police Chief John Fitzgerald.

The residents of the house told police they turned off their downstairs lights and were going upstairs to go to sleep when their dog began barking. The residents said they turned on their outdoor lights on the back of the home but saw nothing suspicious.

The next morning, the residents reported to police that their copper downspout on the back of the home “had been pulled away forcefully from the house wall and was partially detached,” according to a Chevy Chase Village crime alert.

“Evidently, the thief ran off before he was able to fully remove the downspout from the house,” read the alert.

Fitzgerald said Friday that three similar incidents happened at homes in Chevy Chase Village early in the morning of March 18 and others have been reported outside Chevy Chase Village in non-incorporated areas of Montgomery County.

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In two of the March 18 incidents, the thief or thieves successfully pulled the downspouts off the homes. Fitzgerald also said that after two of the incidents, residents reported being awaken by a startling noise between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. but then went back to sleep when the noise didn’t happen again.

Chevy Chase Village police shared the information with police in neighboring Montgomery County and Washington, D.C., police districts.

Copper theft is not a new phenomenon. The metal is valuable and thieves typically try to unload it at scrap yards. But Fitzgerald said copper thefts typically happen during the day, not at night when residents are more likely to be home. 

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