By David Highfield

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thefts of copper wiring and pipes have increased in recent years because the metal has become so valuable.

But now the problem in Pittsburgh’s East End is downspouts being ripped right off homes, even a church!

It’s become such an issue that Pittsburgh Police are planning to hold a press conference Friday morning.

Police say they’re have been about 25 thefts recently in just Shadyside and Squirrel Hill alone.

Rick Gammire, the owner of Rickjohn Roofing, tells KDKA they’ve been busy with calls from people whose downspouts have been stolen.

“I feel bad for them because it’s a pain for them to get these replaced in a timely fashion,” said Gammire. “We’re lucky it’s dry weather and there’s not a lot of rain right now because the water would go in the basements.”

Thieves hit Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Highland Park, first scratching all the downspouts to see which ones were aluminum and which were copper, and then stealing 12-hundred dollars-worth of the copper ones.

In Shadyside, at the corner of Ellwood and College, there’s a sign up urging neighbors to be on the look-out for thieves.

That’s also the message of the Shadyside Action Coalition who say some of the thefts have happened during the day when homeowners are away.

“Truck pulls up and they look like they belong in someone’s driveway. Looks like they’re doing work on the house. Neighbors walk past,” said Dennis Downy from the Coalition.

Police say homes in Oakland and Point Breeze have also been hit.

So far, no arrests.

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