Solar panels may be too hot a commodity

Who knew that there was a black market for decreasing your carbon footprint? A recent crime wave in the San Francisco Bay area involved a string of thefts of solar panels. A sophisticated thief or thieves—the crime takes technical skills to execute—has been removing solar panels from various facilities. A suspect is thought to have been selling them on e-Bay, according to

One of the buildings that was hit, more than once, was an Episcopal church, despite attempts to deter the thieves:

Other thefts include St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette, which was hit twice in the spring. Doug Merrill, a parishioner in charge of the project, said six of their 42 panels were taken at the end of April.

Some church members stayed at the church overnight, and they also left on flood lights. But the thieves were undeterred and returned in May to steal seven more panels.

“They have to go through some trouble,” Merrill said of the thieves. He said the church’s electrical bill has dropped from between $3,500 and $4,000 a year to about $300, but church officials never expected someone to steal them. “But it turns out this is a common problem.”

The story is here.

Related: The high value of recycled metal has led to an epidemic of thefts of copper roofs and lead downspouts from churches in England.

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