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More than $20,000 in scrap metal was stolen, police say. A man and woman now face charges.

A 33-year-old Cary man is charged with stealing more than $20,000 worth of copper and other scrap metal, then collecting cash in exchange for it.

Raleigh police accused Matthew Casey Laudate of Doylin Drive of taking an ATT junction box, a copper water line, two backflow valves, a copper refrigerant line, coaxial cables, a furnace and other items, according to arrest warrants.

A 33-year-old woman of the same address, Laura Ann Thornton, is charged with conspiracy, possession of stolen goods and obtaining property by false pretenses in the case of one of the backflow preventers, for which she and Laudate received $550 from a metal recycler, warrants said.

Police said the items were stolen from a variety of addresses around Raleigh, including Trinity Properties, Rhyne Management and a dentist’s office on Western Boulevard.

Stray metal has long been a target for theft.

In 2016, Raleigh police charged a construction worker with taking and selling 10,000 pounds of copper wire from a hospital project on Lake Boone Trail.

Last year, officers charged a 57-year old parolee from Raleigh with stealing 11 metal signs from WakeMed hospitals in Garner, Raleigh and Cary. Together, the signs topped $10,000 in value.

Laudate’s bail was set at $100,000; Thornton’s was set at $50,000.

Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and federal courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.

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