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Man's locking device protects valuable copper on job sites

LAWRENCEVILLE - Nate Brazelle has heard a lot about thefts of materials from construction sites.

But he hasn't heard much about what people are doing to stop these thefts, which often result in the loss of thousands of dollars of materials and delay construction.

Brazelle says he has an affordable, successful solution that he wants people to know about.

For $375, construction companies that own storage units or container companies that rent the units can purchase a lock that secures storage units completely from the inside, making it impossible to cut with bolt cutters or a torch, said Brazelle, who is the president and CEO of the Greenville, S.C.-based Total Security Solutions-USA.

The device is unlocked with knock lock technology, which is an encrypted code that unlocks the device by sending vibrations through the container. To produce the code, users simply enter a personal identification number.

The device, called a Knock Lock, has successfully safeguarded clients from thefts in its two years on the market, Brazelle said.

Total Security Solutions' clientele is primarily on the West Coast, where a construction boom also brought about an increase in construction site thefts. Brazelle, whose family is from Snellville, said he'd like to expand his sales into Gwinnett County.

Gwinnett County has had its share of construction site thefts, especially as the price of copper rose. To combat the problem, the Gwinnett County Police Department organized a copper theft task force about 10 months ago.

For more information about the product, visit www.tssusa.com.

The following is a list of some of the copper thefts that have happened this year in Gwinnett County:

•In February, two men were arrested after they allegedly took about 30 copper bars off a cell phone tower in Norcross. The bars were valued at $120 each.

•In May, three men were caught trying to steal a communication wire made of copper from a storage yard in Norcross. The men apparently used bolt cutters to cut a padlock to access the storage yard. The copper wire was valued at $300 to $400.

•In June, a man was arrested after he was caught attempting to sell 1,100 pounds of bare copper, 165 pounds of unstripped copper wire and 256 pounds of aluminum wire that he did not lawfully own. The total value of the items was $2,798.

•In June, a man was arrested after he was caught attempting to sell 432 pounds of copper tubing that he did not lawfully own. The value of the copper tubing was more than $500.

•In August, a man and a woman were caught stealing copper tubing from air conditioner condensing units. The coil from a single air conditioning unit is worth $50 to $100.

•In October, $17,000 in copper was stolen from the site of a future elementary school.