Copper thieves target Houston Alzheimer’s association, leaving non-profit with $30,000 bill

HOUSTON – The Alzheimer’s Association of Houston and Southeast Texas is reeling after a burglary and theft that caused $30,000 in damage.

It happened Thursday at the non-profit’s office in the 6000 block of South Loop East.

Longtime chief executive officer Richard Elbein received a notification of a power outage to the building at 3 a.m. When he went over to check things out later that morning, he realized the outage was the work of man, not Mother Nature.

“The gate to our power area was open and I saw that they had removed the panel and all wires were cut,” Elbein said.

Elbein believes the thieves were after copper wiring, even cutting metal tubes to get to the wires connected to the power pole just outside the property.

“It required professionals who had all the equipment because you can’t bend them (the wires) let alone pull them 300 feet. They knew what they were doing,” he said.

Elbein said security cameras all around the property were redirected away from areas where the thieves had been working.

Sometime between Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon, it appears the thieves came back.

Elbein said on Friday he got a call from the local mailman saying the front gate to the office was open. When he got there, Elbein said a patio set worth $5,000 was missing.

“I’m shocked that they had time to think about shopping for outdoor furniture while they were stealing our wiring,” he said.

The non-profit is now faced with spending tens of thousands of dollars they hadn’t planned on after a tough year of fundraising due to the pandemic.

“What a terrible impact it is on the clients we serve. It’s money that should be used for the mission and instead it’s being used to repair something that should never have needed to be repaired,” Elbein said.

They hope to have the office re-opened by July 12 at the earliest.

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