Copper thief caught on camera in Virginia Beach

WAVY/Joel Hilton

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Appliances used to help military families in need were stripped of their wiring — and it appears the thief was after the copper inside.

Two months ago, when the bumper was ripped from his Hummer, Johny Clifton installed surveillance cameras around his Virginia Beach store, Dr. Johnny’s Appliances on General Booth Boulevard. But he didn’t think he’d nee them so soon.

“It seems like it’s getting more frequent, people deciding what is yours is theirs,” said Clifton. “My technician walked up to me and had come out here and noticed that all the cords had been cut. I said, ‘you’re kidding me?’”

The surveillance video shows someone pulling up to the store around 10 p.m. Sunday and using wire cutters to snip the cords off each appliance. Johnny hopes if more people see the surveillance video, someone will know who the suspect is and police will make an arrest before other homes and businesses have similar problems.

PHOTOS: Thief strips appliances of copper

“I felt very violated,” said Clifton. “I work very hard. I work long hours. I work for what I have. And if someone needs something, come to me.”

Many people have come to Clifton for help over the years. The fact that the appliances were vandalized angers Johnny that much more because they have a special purpose.

“They’re actually machines that we have pulled after we sell a new product, and there’s a lot of young NAVY families around here that cannot afford a new washer and dryer,” said Clifton.

So he refurbishes them and sells them at a low cost.

“To just walk back and violate my privacy, my property, and feel like it’s yours, it just disappoints me and really upsets me,” Clifton said.

Clifton plans on beefing up security around his business now in hopes of cutting back on crime. He said Virginia Beach police told him that a year ago there was a rash of metal thefts in the area. They died down, but over the last month, they’ve seen a rise once again.

Clifton believes the car caught on camera driving up to his business was a silver Volkswagen Golf. If you recognize the person in the video call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

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