Police have added to their expanding list of local copper pipe thefts two incidents that occurred at vacant houses near the intersection of Sugar Street, West Street, and Boggs Hill Road.
In one case, the theft of pipes from the basement of a house on Sugar Street punctured a charged water pipe, resulting in the pressurized water spraying out of the leak to flood the basement to a depth of about 30 inches.
Newtown Hook & Ladder volunteer firefighters responded to the house late on the morning of Monday, May 19.
Fire Chief Ray Corbo estimated that it probably took “a few days” for the punctured, spraying three-quarter-inch diameter water pipe to flood the basement to a 30-inch depth.
Chief Corbo said that the fire company pumped out about 2,000 gallons of water from the basement.
A family had been scheduled to move into the house on May 19, but that move was delayed by the incident.
Officials also learned that a nearby vacant house, on West Street near its intersection with Sugar Street, had been illegally entered and copper water pipes stolen from within.
Police Sergeant Aaron Bahamonde said the police department’s detectives are investigating the two residential copper thefts. No damage estimate was available.
The two incidents are the latest in a string of copper thefts that have hit the town in recent weeks.
Thieves steal the copper pipes for their scrap-metal value, which currently stands at about $2.50 per pound.
Police have said they learned on May 5 that unknown persons had been stealing an extensive amount of copper piping and copper wiring for an unknown period of time from Cochran House, a large vacant building at Fairfield Hills.
The multistory 188,000-square-foot red-brick Cochran House at 21 Mile Hill Road South, which closed as a patient care facility in 1995, was the last major building to be constructed at the former state psychiatric hospital. The town-owned building is on the southern edge of the Fairfield Hills campus, adjacent to youth baseball fields.
The theft of the copper for its scrap-metal value may have been occurring during a period of weeks, police said. The theft is a case of first-degree larceny, which represents a loss value of more than $20,000.
The thieves apparently gained entry into that building through one of its many exterior doorways.
In another recent copper theft, police said they learned on the morning on April 19 that two vacant houses near the intersection of South Main Street and Greenbriar Lane, which are for sale, were illegally entered by someone who stole the copper pipes from their heating systems.
Also on April 19, police learned that someone had illegally entered a vacant house for sale on Russett Road, near Gelding Hill Road, and ripped out the copper water pipes. The thief entered the building through an attached garage, police said.
Police have also reported that sometime during the overnight of April 6–7, someone burglarized and stole a large amount of copper piping from a vacant house for sale on Pole Bridge Road.
The thief or thieves forced entry into that house through a rear door and then stole the piping from the building’s heating system, police said.
Police ask anyone with knowledge of the copper thefts to contact them at the police station at 3 Main Street, telephone 203-426-5841.