Killeen police catch squatter stealing copper - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Killeen police catch squatter stealing copper

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A homeless man finds shelter in a vacant building, but he was apparently helping himself to more than a dry place to sleep.

Police say the squatter was ripping out copper pipes to sell for scrap. As the price of copper goes up, so does the copper thefts around the area.

Jocelito Cosme-Gonzalez, 51, was found living in a vacant business at 5400 E. Rancier Ave. Killeen police received a tip on Monday about Cosme-Gonzalez setting up for a place to live in the building.

Authorities went over there to check it out, but found out Cosme-Gonzalez was doing more than just living in the vacant building. Police found items missing; pipes from the ceiling and the walls.

When the owner of the property was contacted, they told police they didn't take any of the pipes out. Apparently, Cosme-Gonzalez was looking to sell the copper from the pipes for money.

Bell County and many areas are dealing with an increase in copper theft. Mainly copper from wire and plumbing, and stealing copper is a felony.

"Its been happening, its happened in the pass to vacant buildings when we've had burglaries. We've had people that have gone in and taken the copper for wiring or copper pipes," said Carroll Smith, Killeen Police Public Information Officer. "You get good money for it and luckily we've been able to find these people and arrest them."

Cosme-Gonzalez is charged with burglary of a building and failure to give identity. Last year, he was behind bars for burglary of a building and served six months in prison.

News Channel 25 reached out to the owner for comment, and they declined to comment on the situation. 

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