SYKESVILLE, Md. -
He makes his business growing trees and ornamental shrubs on a remote farm in Sykesville, but Bill Ramsay says somehow thieves found their way there to steal copper from large air conditioning units a mile and a half from the nearest paved road.
"I think they came down this road because they were looking for a place to shoot up and then they saw the opportunity to steal the copper is all I can figure. I came home from camping and it was a mess. It was flipped over and the gas was shooting out of the gas tank."
Howard County police arrested 22-year-old Sarah Nicole Cook and her boyfriend, Eduardo Espinosa Jr. a few miles away in West Friendship with a car full of copper, pipe and cutting tools in addition to a supply of heroin.
"I found out through the sheriff's department later that they actually were passed out in the middle of the road, which isn't very smart," Ramsay said.
Colonel Phil Kasten of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office says they say a double digit increase in burglaries and thefts last year, and heroin overdoses more than doubled as the narcotic made a comeback in the region.
"The declining costs of heroin has now made it a drug of choice, and with law enforcement partnering with the local health officials and physicians to tighten down on controls for prescription drug abuse, it's now making heroin a greater interest to drug offenders."
Kasten says 75 percent of all of the county's thefts can be tied to funding drug habits, and a new, potentially deadly form of heroin that's heavily cut with other substances has become more available and less expensive than illegal painkillers.
It's an old problem that represents a new trend as criminals stop at nothing to get their next high.
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