Update 1/30 -
Three more thefts have come to light since first reporting on the issue.
Officers responded to a theft at St. Lambert's Church in the 8100 block of Karlov Avenue on Jan. 26. A 7-foot copper downspout was stolen from the southeast side of the building, police said.
On Jan. 23, several copper fragments were removed from a statue located outside the Skokie Public Library. The stolen pieces were about two feet long, according to the police report.
A few days earlier, on Jan. 23, several copper fragments were removed from a statue outside the Skokie Public Library. The stolen pieces may have been two feet long, the report said.
Skokie and neighboring areas are finding unexpected items missing from outside their home: metal gates, copper downspouts and even statues are being stolen at an unusual rate.
"Of course we were upset, three of our four downspouts ended up being taken," Hanson said. "The thieves took two initially, and a third a few days later - that was upsetting."
In the end, about $750 of material was stolen from the museum. Meanwhile, burglars are selling the stolen copper to scrap yards for about $3.80 a pound, according to the US Scrap Price Index. Some thieves will steal a vehicle's catalytic converter - which contains precious platinum - and sell them to scrap yards for about $200 a piece.
While the aforementioned can be considered big ticket items, some crooks will steal anything - including metal gates and lawn decorations. On Jan. 22, two black swans constructed of iron were stolen outside a home in the 8100 block of Keeler Avenue. Another homeowner reported his chain link gate stolen on Jan. 18.
Businesses have also been hit, as the new Wilde & Greene in Old Orchard Mall reported four tables stands and two metal ice bins stolen from the exterior of their restaurant. Last summer, law enforcement saw a spike in stolen charcoal grills and patio furniture, police said.
"It's definitely on the increase, especially for metal," said Skokie officer Joe Marzigliano. "It is happening in other towns as well."
In Northbrook, thieves cut the chain link fence to a ComEd storage yard in the 1400 block of Skokie Boulevard and removed concrete covers weighing several hundred pounds to steal approximately $300 of copper cable.
"We have no particular pattern, though we are working on a crime analysis," Marzigliano said.