Copper has been a favorite target for thieves in central Ohio and across the state in recent years, but lately they've been lifting it from an unlikely place: Restaurant bathrooms.

Copper has been a favorite target for thieves in central Ohio and across the state in recent years, but lately they've been lifting it from an unlikely place: Restaurant bathrooms.

The Upper Arlington police division is investigating a series of thefts from public restrooms in businesses throughout central Ohio, according to community relations/crime prevention officer Heather Galli.

One instance occurred on Jan. 21 in the 3700 block of Riverside Drive, in which a thief stole a copper urinal fixture from a restaurant. Galli said there have been other similar occurrences throughout central Ohio that may have a connection.

"We are working with a few additional law enforcement agencies, with Columbus and Hilliard, regarding similar instances," she said. "Right now we're raising awareness. We're asking that if residents see anything suspicious, to contact their local law enforcement agency."

According to the crime alert posted by UA's police division, the stolen fixtures are likely being sold for scrap. However, the fixtures being targeted do not contain large amounts of copper and the damage caused by the theft can exceed the amount the thieves would get from a scrap dealer.

Galli said that anyone with information or questions should contact the Upper Arlington police division at 614-583-5160.

- Lin Rice