Man burns to death in attempt to steal copper

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A total of 2,720 people were detained for stealing copper in the first six months of 2013 alone. Photo: Scott Wilcoxson/Flickr
09:24 CET+01:00
A man has died while trying to steal copper - one of the fastest growing crimes in Italy - from a factory in the southern Italian region of Benevento.

The man, who police are yet unable to identify, burned to death after attempting to steal copper from electrical wiring from Iron Sud, an abandoned factory in Limatola, Articolo Tre reported.

His death comes as Italy is attempting to crack down on copper thieves, an ever-growing problem amid rising poverty in the crisis-hit country.

In November, the national observatory for copper theft said 2,720 people were detained for stealing copper in the first six months of 2013 alone - a 41 percent increase from the same period in 2012. The thefts reached 11,040 - a 12-percent increase.

The price of a kilo of copper has risen exponentially on international markets in recent years - mainly because of growing demand from China and India. That has made communications and power cables a valuable target, both by major gangs that steal large quantities from depots, as well as small-time thieves.

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