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  • When we were looking for a house to use as a studio, office and guest house (the one we live in is very small), we found houses with squatters living in them, houses falling into extreme disrepair and houses that had been stripped by the “urban miners.” The “urban miners” take everything that they can sell. They break into the house, steal the hot water heater, the stove, the fridge if there is one, and the copper pipes. Once the pipes have been removed, the remaining parts leak and ruin the plaster and drywall, the carpets, the floors, the ceilings the walls until the house is suitable only to be bulldozed.

    This of course is a loss to the homeowners or banks who own the homes, as well as a loss to the neighborhood.

    Poverty and drugs play a role in urban mining. Good education, health care, and a living wage might help the problem.
  • Sometimes, the urban miners strike close to home. While we were visiting family over Christmas, the urban miners stole 15 feet of copper pipe off the air conditioner. (Yes, I do know we are lucky to even HAVE an air-conditioner. I never had one before.) They yanked the tubing out of the machine, releasing the refrigerant into the atmosphere! (Bad for the Ozone layer and global warning and totally against the law!)

    Keith says they probably got about $5 for the copper pipe they stole, but they totally ruined the air conditioner by pulling apart the innards.

    Today we had it replaced. It cost almost $2800.

    The insurance will pay about 3/4 of that. We have to pay the rest. (Yes, we are lucky to have insurance.)
  • We moved the air conditioner closer to the house--now it blocks light from the basement window. We are hoping that the shorter piece of pipe won't attract vandalous thieves.

    I would like to feel compassion for all people, but I feel angry at the man who for $5 cost us so much. I am afraid they will do it again, maybe break into the house like they did next door.
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