Ameren is warning about a possible resurgence of a crime that became a problem a couple of years ago: copper theft.

Ameren spokesman Brianne Lindemann says copper theft became very common in 2007. Thieves stole materials from Ameren facilities and substations, and off of plumbing and wiring at homes and businesses, to then sell the metal at a scrap yard. But the price of the metal dropped, and so did the occurrence of these crimes.

She says with the global price of copper beginning to rebound, it’s important people take precautions.

“We’re still concerned. We take all kinds of steps to protect our property and we want (Missourians) to take care of their property as well,” Lindemann said

She says homeowners should make sure there’s plenty of lighting inside and outside, especially if you are going to be out of town.

“We definitely just want to make sure that any home has somewhat of a ‘lived in’ look. Make sure you mow your lawn and if it happens to be a time when there’s snow on the ground you might want to shovel your walk. Just make sure that it looks like people are living there and they wouldn’t target that particular area,” Lindemann said.

She also points out this is an extremely dangerous crime for the thief, often meddling with live wires and potentially causing other problems.

“There could be extensive power outages, fires, even explosions. It doesn’t only hurt the thief, it targets everyone around,” Lindemann said.

Lindemann says copper thefts are isolated incidents right now, and she hopes it stays that way.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 min MP3]