TUCSON- Metal theft is a national epidemic, so much so that there is a metal theft training consultant organization.
Thursday, property owners met with a consultant in Tucson to find out more about this crime and how to prevent it.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates copper theft costs the nation $1 billion a year. Just a couple of years ago, copper wire was stolen from the property Gay Jarvis manages.
"They cut this as far down as they can, and even this much as you heard today can be worth a few dollars," said Jarvis.
To keep it from happening again, the company replaced it, and painted it to match the building so it's harder to see.
It's a technique that has served her well.
"Especially a night when they're working in the dark, it's much harder to find this," said Jarvis.
Terry Alling, a metal theft training consultant, said the key to decreasing metal thefts is education.
"Copper thieves go from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It's an opportunistic crime," said Alling.
He travels the country educating law enforcement and property owners on how thieves burn, strip copper, choose their targets and sometimes get away with it.
There will be another training session on Friday for law enforcement.