LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The theft of copper is turning violent. For the first time we are hearing 9-1-1 calls from a security guard under attack.
Metro says a gang of copper thieves beat up a guard -- and days later shot a police officer.
Last month a security guard discovered three men breaking into a pipe supply yard off of Decatur Boulevard.
Metro says Dylan Dybczynski, Joshua Paulo, and Shawn Miller went on a copper theft spree for weeks.
Unfortunately one night a security guard got in their way.
Investigators say the men beat him up with a copper pipe and stole his cellphone and wallet. About a week later detectives say one of the men shot a metro police officer during another copper theft.
Electrical contractor Steve Collett wonders when the thieves will strike again. He's one of the many scrapyard owners around Decatur Boulevard and Flamingo Road who has seen his business hit by copper thieves several times.
"There seems to be more and more of them coming. Just like a plague you can't seem to stop them from taking the stuff," Collett said.
Bill Cassell with Metro isn't surprised of the copper thefts. On average Metro sees 11 cases a week.
"It's all driven by the price of copper which is basically driven by overseas markets. When the copper is up. You see the thft increase," Cassell said