Copper and Robbers

Household items get nabbed amid rising commodity prices

Nation Wong / Getty

The price of copper has quadrupled since 2003 owing to the construction boom in Asia.

They started with pipes and air conditioners. Then they came for Dan. "They literally cut him off at the knees," says Judy Moore, vice president of the neighborhood association in Los Angeles' historic Carthay Circle. Dan is a 7-ft. (2 m) bronze statue of a gold miner that stood in a Los Angeles park for 84 years, holding his sifting pan like a deep-dish pizza. Appraisers say he's worth $125,000. In February, thieves sliced Dan in two and took him to a scrap yard to be melted down for $900. Why did a couple of crooks have the brass to steal...