After receiving a tip from a neighbor, Wilton police are investigating the theft of two copper downspouts from a home on Sturges Ridge Road. The seven- to nine-foot-long downspouts were stolen Monday, March 25, at 11:08 a.m., and were valued at about $200 each.

Police said a neighbor reported seeing a white man dressed in dark clothing wearing a ball cap remove the downspouts from the house and load them into a silver-gray minivan.

Lt. Donald Wakeman said it is hard to say if this incident is related to previous thefts of downspouts or copper wire or pipes that have been reported over the last several months.

He said there has been a significant increase in the number of similar thefts reported throughout Fairfield County as well as Westchester County in New York.

“It’s always happened on and off on occasion,” he said, adding the prices people can get for scrap copper “have just caused it to skyrocket.”

Police have checked with area scrap metal yards, but they deal with so many people they have not been able to point to anyone in particular.

Lt. Wakeman surmised there are “some people who drive around during the day and look for homes with copper gutters” and there are others who wait until night to steal copper wire and pipes from construction sites.

“We are hoping we can positively ID a suspect from yesterday,” he said Tuesday, “and share [that information] with surrounding towns.”