Stolen Copper Piping Causes Oil Spill, Police Say

$25K reward offered for information that leads to arrest in residential burglary.

A copper pipe was cut and stolen during a residential burglary on Maxim Drive that caused oil to leak into Bear Pond last week.

A vacant home was broken into across the street from the pond on Dec. 4, and a copper pipe was cut, causing oil to leak into the basement and then into the pond, according to a report supplied by Lt. Thomas Kmetz.

Kmetz said it is still unknown how much oil was in the oil tank. When the oil was found at the top of the pond, the Hopatcong Fire Department put out containment booms and absorbent pads to prevent the oil from flowing further.

Kmetz said Hudson Farm called a special hazmat environmental agency to clean up the oil in the house and in Bear Pond.

Hudson Farm is offering a $25,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to the convinction of the individual responsible for the theft, Kmetz said.

Anyone with information is asking to contact the Hopatcong Police Department at 973-398-5000.

Kmetz said there was another incident where copper piping was stolen from another home on Maxim Drive. The back door of a deck had the door knob bent up, which disengaged the lock, he said. The copper pipe was removed from the heating system that leaked water in the home, Kmetz said.

Kmetz said the copper pipe was also cut from a propane tank that was outside. He said it is unknown as to how much propane leaked out of the tank.

BeachBum December 13, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Disgusting - Get a hobby besides theft and drugs - losers!
Michele Guttenberger December 13, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Yes, our economic collapse has impacted the Billionare's duck pond of the tax exempt properties of their Bermudian registered Sport & Hunting Club. The pond that is part of the state land trust property listed under their promotional material as a "private" hunting preserve. Yes, the economic rot that has plagued our urban cities is the same economic decline that strips the copper tubes in vacant homes in Hopatcong. This is what happens when the wealthy have a tax free pass to operate private clubs. There is no reinvested in the region that benefits the overall welfare of communities like Hopatcong and vacant homes become plentiful. These nice little tax shelters have helped expand the gap of desperate people that in turn ruins little duck ponds. A duck pond they like to showcase to all their Dick Cheney level important guests. Most likely this $25K reward does not even come close to 1 full years membership at their Private Sports club . So they are being real cheap on the preservation of this little duck pond and their elite sports club membership business. Because that little duck pond was a big attraction with their tweed jacketed Griffin and Howe clientele.
Concernedmom December 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Ugh, disgusting. Wish I knew who the losers were. I could use 25 grand.
Michele Guttenberger December 13, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Kmetz said Hudson Farm called a special hazmat environmental agency to clean up the oil in the house and in Bear Pond. Would that be a NJ Gov tax funded agency to do the clean up job and will it be billed out on the New Jersey Taxpayer's tab? Since the pond is on state land trust property? Or does any of Hudson Farm Sports Club Private revenues get to be used for this clean up since they use these tax exempt land trust properties for their private membership sports club? Will MMK Reinsurance (Bermuda) ltd take care of the damages with their insurance company?
Nucky Thompson December 13, 2012 at 06:36 PM
That's a really tough job in Hopatcong, there are so many to choose from!
mike December 13, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I hope they don't get caught.
Michele Guttenberger December 13, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Was Hudson Farms aka MMK Reinsurance the landholder of this vacant building with a full fuel tank? Why would they make the hazmat call for the inside of this house if they were not the landholders of this abandoned domicile? According to the OSRP they hold 39 acres on Maxim Drive. If this was their property do they bear some responsibility for the enviro damage that was done because they left this building unsupervised for vandalism with a full tank of fuel. Borough of Hopatcong - Open Space and Recreation Plan Update Appendix C, Page 10 Are they the new slum lords of our countryside? Who's dollar is paying for this clean-up by these vandals. Does one hand get reward money and the other hand gets the clean up bill? http://www.hopatcong.org/Minutes/OSRPUpdate.pdf Block Lot Property Location Class Acres Owner 50001 1 MAXIM DR 3B 39.01 MMK REINSURANCE, LTD
Willa Scantlebury December 13, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Jeez Michele, take a chill pill. A crime was committed and you are bashing a "landholder" that does plenty of good things for the town of Hopatcong (and countless others.) I hope the spill had no real impact on the environment. It's a beautiful area. I'm glad a hazmat team came out for the clean up, regardless of how it was funded.
Lakesider December 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Wow Ms Guttenberger, not only do you have spare time for research, you've got pent-up anger.
The Watcher December 14, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Thanks Michelle for pointing out that they are buying up property and getting tax exemptions. Willa they are a millionaire hunt club and everything they supposedly do for towns they get to tax off their taxes which in turn raises yours. If Hudson Farms owns the property I DO CARE who pays for the cleanup. A friend of mine in town had a small oil leak and had to pay their own Hazmat bill and they do not have billions of dollars in an off shore account.
Michele Guttenberger December 14, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Lakesider - Thank you for noticing the research I put into my comments. Yes, I do find time to spare when someone is playing a reverse Robin Hood with my tax dollars and it angers me when the wealthy can hold on to their wallets while the clueless and unsuspecting middle class taxpayer picks up the tab for their outdoor recreation playground that we are granted permission on special days to walk on. Even though they are part of state land trusts. But don't worry, except for the principals of Hudson Farms, we all will be paying the taxes on these lost tax ratables that have been placed in tax exempt land trusts We will have our fair spread of that newly adjusted municipal tax rate. Remember the town wide property reavaluaion because the real estate values went down? A big factor in real estate devaluation is land trust property - that has a $0 tax rateable value. How much of a tax rate impact does 600 acres have on on your adjusted new rate? Surprised no one else feels the pain of our taxable charities.
Roseanne Marie S. December 14, 2012 at 03:18 PM
People were doing the same thing right after Sandy with the hanging power lines that were copper. Here we all are looking at all the damage and helping one another and this man is jumping up and down cutting any lines he could reach with hedge clippers until we chased him away. The guys that came to fix the lines said it's such a common occurrence lately that they always bring extra copper wire with them.
elizabeth disbrow December 21, 2012 at 03:39 PM
So ridiculous. These are the people that don't deserve to be here. If you need to steal copper because you can't afford your bills then get a job! or a second job. I don't care. Do something though besides stealing to make ends meat. How about move to a different state with cheaper properties or live in a smaller house. I myself do not have much money but I work two jobs and pay my bills. May not have luxorious things or fancy car's etc but I have a roof over my head and food to eat.


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