By Charlie De Mar

CHICAGO (CBS) — In less than one week, five Bucktown businesses have been targeted for copper wire.

The person who made the repairs to the copper said it cost him $10,000 just to replace the metal, so there is real value. What some might consider a victimless crime is deeply hurting the livelihood of businesses in Bucktown.

Business is back inside Milwaukee Avenue’s The Stop Along.

“Hate to use the word professional, but it seems like they knew what they were doing,” said Taylor Hammond, owner of The Stop Along.

Tuesday Taylor Hammond lost thousands of dollars. Someone cut and stole the copper in the back alley of his restaurant, likely selling it for scraps — a crime of desperation.

“It’s a day we can’t come into work and we can’t serve our food,” Hammond said.

The cut wires meant no power to the kitchen. The restaurant just couldn’t stay open.

“It’s a tough business, and this is another thing that makes it tough,” he said.

Next to The Stop Along you can feel the high energy inside Bucktown’s Chi 50, but the vibrant intensity faded. The cut wires also forcing Cheri Byrd to cancel fitness classes, a costly blow to the small studio

“They had to do a class in the dark by candlelight, silent. I had to cancel my next class,” Chi 50 owner Cheri Byrd said.

“It was about 70 feet 8 times over,” Byrd said. “I was lucky compared to the other two business.”

But the copper crooks weren’t done and decided to revisit a recent victim.

Down the street at Core Power the heated part of hot yoga turned ice cold.

“The lobby is frigid cold,” studio assistant Sydney Stier said. “Our water fountains weren’t working, toilets don’t flush. It took us about 10 hours to get back up and running and then it happened again this morning.”

Stier says before Wednesday the fitness studios copper was first stolen about 10 days ago, along with the UPS. Every business hit sits along busy Milwaukee Avenue.

“The losses for us have to be close to $10,000 to $20,000,” Stier said.

“It’s the violation of the hard work you put into a place,” Hammond said.

“Very expensive big headache,” Byrde said.

 

Charlie De Mar