INKSTER, Mich. (WXYZ) - A metro Detroit man says scrappers are destroying his business.
That businessman hopes to help his community's most vulnerable, but now he's become a repeated victim of theft.
The scrappers are after pounds and pounds of copper pipe. As you walk through the building you quickly realize thieves got their hands on a lot of it.
It was supposed to be a place to do good for the people of Inkster. But Arthur Hudgens' big plan isn't even a pipe dream anymore. That's because most of the pipes are gone.
"So our biggest problem now has been guys breaking in, taking pipes, just literally destroying the building," Hudgens says.
He says the copper thefts started back in January and that once or twice a month, the thieves would bust into his building and steal whatever they could.
They even ripped the roof's air conditioning unit right off.
"This is the heavy copper. It's not the copper today that's real light," Hudgens says.
Tallying the damage is one thing. But Hudgens says his main problem is with the city.
Since buying the building four years ago, Hudgens tried to turn it into a rehab facility then a women's shelter. But the city never gave him the green light.
"It's kind of sad, and it's sad that the leadership in this city is not leading," Hudgens says. "When the Mayor tells you things like ‘don't bring this to the council right now, we got a lot of problems,' that's a problem That's a major problem."
Hudgens believes if the city permitted his business to open, thieves would have never thought to steal from a functioning enterprise. But for now, the building's future is as empty as its hallways.
"When you let buildings like this go abandoned, and blight comes in, the city loses," Hudgens says. "You talk about a building you pay over three hundred thousand dollars for. And now we're at a point where you can't really use it for anything."
Time for a little math: Mr. Hudgens say he paid $300,000 for the building. He says with about $200,000 worth of copper gone, and another $200,000 for building repairs, he is in the red on his investment.
The building is up for sale, but Hudgens is not sure who's up for buying it in its current condition.