Determining whether some laws are working generally takes a fair amount of research. But when an apartment complex explodes, you pretty much have your answer about whether the state’s attempts to discourage copper theft are working. They’re not, otherwise apartment buildings wouldn’t be exploding.
Thomas Deegan, the manager of Minneapolis’ Problem Properties Unit, speculated last spring that up to 20 percent of the city’s vacant buildings have had their copper pipes ripped out.
On Sunday, the apartment complex in north Minneapolis exploded and arson investigators say copper thieves are the reason. Last March, a house on Colfax also exploded because of a gas leak. It, too, was vacant.
But copper pipes are still being stolen, houses are still blowing up, and somebody is paying the thieves for the copper with impunity.