Brass thieves target toilet stalls

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Businesses are watching their money go down the drain as thieves target their automatic flushers.

Authorities say the thefts are happening throughout the state of Ohio, leaving behind a huge repair bill for the business owner.

Copper is not the culprit. A different metal is drawing the attention of these thieves. Its called "red brass" and is found in flush valves.

"This particular flush valve is standard in most commercial applications - most of your restaurants and parks," said Rick Scardina of Geiler Plumbing in Western Hills.

Covered in chrome for aesthetic purposes, experts say the restroom rip-offs of red brass are likely being carried out to scrap the metal.

"The one's with automatic flushers are $250, so its a big expense to customers," said Scardina.

"250 bucks to replace?" asked Mike Smith of Willie's Sports Cafe in Covington. "Wow, that's a lot of money. Just for that little piece that's only worth a couple of bucks?"

"At $2.50 a pound (a valve) might weigh 3 to 5 pounds. Maybe you might get a little more but not very much," said Scardina.

The only real protection business owners have right now is to build the valves into the walls. Scardina said he knows of no housing or box on the market that would encase exposed valves and keep them where they belong - in the restrooms.

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