Copper thieves

From small groups to international mafias. Chinese demand for this material is, for five years, an incentive for these crimes.

Eight in the morning. Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, receives the first "sms" of the day. Are data on major crimes committed in the last hours: number of homicides, cases of domestic violence, robberies ... And stealing copper wire. What until about five years ago it was a criminal type that only holders of some news rose has become very largely thanks to demand from China as part of its overwhelming process of industrialization in a headache both the National Police, to the Civil Guard.
Several agents of the Civil Guard inspected stolen copper wire
Indeed, the Forces and Security Forces are aware that this type of thieves are getting better structured and even come to shape international mafias that cause the following paradox: the company, usually services, which suffers these thefts end you must pay a million dollar purchase amount for material that comes precisely the stolen recycling. Therefore, it is a great business, in every way: both criminals, who earn huge profits, as in the vicious cycle of installation-robo-sale-recycling-installation which can be summarized this phenomenon.
Micro and macro crime
Experts agree that the "modus operandi" is twofold: the tiny bands that make small apprehensions and organized and international mafias. Each other not only differ in the amount of copper stolen, but in their receptadores fundamental leg of the business.
The first are usually small groups of Romanian Gypsies or Spanish, the latter linked to other unsavory pursuits such as drug dealing. Their job is easy: locate a substation transformer, developments, manholes, which are usually in the M-40, M-45, M-50, M-31 ... His favorite areas, some not far removed from the villages cable par excellence, the Real and El Gallinero Canada, both in the axis of the highway of Valencia (a-3). This circular last summer by the east and north of the M-40 night was a risky action, because it was dark.
A chisels or, in any case, a radial are more than enough to glue the cut, pull the cable and quickly load it into a van, toward the village. "As the legislation are known, used to minors of the family, 16 or 17 years to drive vehicles because they know they have no such responsibility," explains the Civil Guard.


A few hours later, a cloud of black smoke and stinky underworld crown that is the Royal Gorge: is the first step of "cleaning" the stolen cable. Remove the plastic covering it is necessary, mainly for two reasons. On the one hand, because that is where the material tattooed their DNA data source; In addition, the copper coverage pays better, but weighs less.
The London Metal Exchange (LME) is the body that regulates the price of copper, which is very volatile, although we can place it in an average of 5,800 euros per ton, excluding the plastic that makes up the price to a maximum of 9,000. The LME data reference is because pure copper is almost nonexistent in the wiring, but gives a closer idea of the benefits to each of the participants in this criminal wheel.
Because the fate of the loot here is bifurcated. If you have been a small group, it will go into the hands of a ghost, illegal junkyard. "Legal usually know when the cable is carrying them illegally obtained. Ask your ID to seller, photocopied and posted the amount that lead them, they make sure their origin. If you perceive something strange, notified to the Civil Guard or the police "tell us from the Spanish Federation of Recovery and Recycling (FER), employers in the sector.
Benefits step
But it may be the "creep" to one or the thief already has an agenda of buyers, which is standard. The purchase price is usually a percentage of the original, and the junkyard sells it to a wholesaler, who classifies and compact: its benefit is usually 10%. Then in homogeneous lots of 25 tons, comes to a foundry, where it is crushed, it becomes new copper material and re-coated with plastic: the cable is again ready to enter the market. In short, the initial 5,800 euros, the thief can be 1,500 or 2,000, as many the junkyard, 3,000 or 4,000 casting ... In the end, the company victim of the crime, the joke comes out for another 9,000 euros ton, it buys and plastic coated.
"But 90% of what is to handle China mafias" indicated in the FER. Here are wholesale theft of 25 and 50 tons, which can reach 300,000 euros. Even they steal in their own scrap yards and recycling centers or these companies trucks loaded with material. Copper also feed that The Roost can not sell. Carry the loot to France or Italy, and from a foreign port reaches China.
There are paid 2,700 euros per tonne and then made video game consoles enjoying the West. The circle therefore closes.

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