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Thief breaks into prison to steal copper

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SALISBURY, NC (AP) -- Police in a North Carolina town are looking for the rare thief who's apparently eager to go to prison.

A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said Wednesday that someone broke into the old Rowan unit of the Piedmont Correctional Institution in Salisbury. The thief stripped about $100-worth of copper tubing from an air conditioner and escaped.

Workers discovered the dismantled air conditioner Monday morning and called local police. No arrests have yet been made.

Investigators think the thief scaled an 8-foot fence topped with barbed wire that surrounds the maintenance yard of the minimum-security prison, leaving pieces of insulation on both sides of the barrier.

Security cameras do not monitor the area where the break-in occurred. Damage to the air conditioner is estimated at $3,000.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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