Constellation Field, the new home of the Sugar Land Skeeters (independent; Atlantic League), was burglarized this week — and a lesson from the incident can be drawn by every ballpark pro.
The burglars were after a single thing: copper tubing, located in a storage room. In fact, it was a pretty major hit: the thieves ended up stealing some $24,000 worth of copper tubing, Now, as a commodity, copper tubing is fairly portable: many scrap yards will buy the stuff no questions asked, albeit for pennies on the dollar. In many states, once the tubing hits the scrap yard, it’s untraceable. (Some states and cities have changed their laws to make scrap-metal dealers more accountable in terms of tracing sellers in response; the problem of stolen scrap metal is hardly unique to ballparks.) The Sugar Land ballpark is not the only ballpark in recent years to be targeted by copper thieves: Midway Stadium, the home of the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association), had its copper tubing stolen twice.
So, the lesson is pretty clear: if your ballpark has copper tubing (frequently used to run wiring out to a scoreboard), make sure it’s protected by fencing. And if you’re a team GM, make sure your lease addresses who will protect and pay for replacement tubing. Don’t be stuck with a bill if it’s the responsibility of your local municipality to guard and replace the copper.
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