Abandoned houses attract a lot of things: partying teenagers, mice, rocks through the windows, the elements.
Now, with the houses rotting away in varying states in the foreclosure process, these houses are now attracting black-market commodities dealers. The houses are broken into and stripped of their copper pipes and wires. Copper has quintupled in price over the past three years, making it worth the risk for thieves.
Needless to say, pulling out plumbing does not improve the chances that a house will be sold.
Parties responsible for the properties are aware of the problem and trying to prevent further reduction in the homes’ values by posting signs like “No Copper Only PVC” on the house. This reminded me of a walk through New York City one time. Some cars parked on the side of the road had signs like “No Radio — Thank You” in them. (“Thanks for breaking into the car next to me.”)
“No Copper. Thank you!”