07/21/2012 07:23 EDT | Updated 09/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Calgary police create unit to target copper wire thefts

Calgary police have created a special unit to target copper wire thieves as the number of thefts continues to rise.

Acting Staff Sgt. Jason Bobrowich made the comments after wrapping up an investigation involving the CBC.

Last month, the CBC was hit when $50,000 worth of copper wire was stolen from its transmitter site in southwest Calgary.

Bobrowich says the price of the metal is rising — and so are the number of thieves hoping to cash in.

“Some of them [the copper thieves] obviously have a significant history of property crimes, others have substance abuse issues and others are attempting to transaction to this type of theft because of the high market price for copper around the world.”

The offenders see the crime as extremely high reward, says Bobrowich.

“They can easily steal copper and turn it around for cash and they see it as low risk because, typically, in the past they have not been arrested and the courts have not looked at copper theft with the magnitude they do now.”

Donald Patrick McCully, 42, has been charged with theft over $5,000 in relation to the case.

Bobrowich says this crime costs Calgary businesses millions of dollars every year.