MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis now estimates it will cost around $110,000 to remodel its new Oakhaven site after it was hit by copper thieves.
The Club says it came to the new estimate after meeting with contractors and electricians.
"The copper theft is out of this world right now," said Clay Aitken, with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department's ALERT (Area Law Enforcement & Retail Team) Task Force.
Aitken and his team are always looking for a way to stay a step ahead of copper thieves.
"It is like… clogging up a hole in a dam, and 4 and 5 other holes coming up. So, it is very frustrating," he said.
The ALERT Task Force conducts sting operations to ensure area scrap metal sellers are following the law. Tennessee, and Memphis specifically, has especially tough laws on the purchasing of copper. But Mississippi and Arkansas do not, leading copper thieves to cross the simply cross state lines to sell their stolen goods.
"There is no race, ethnicity, or gender, because it is a cash business. As soon as you take this material in, you are given cash immediately," Aitken said. "With the way the economy is right now, people are getting braver."