NEW YORK (AP) - Last week's heist of 500 feet of copper cable stripped from open-air rail tracks in New York City was particularly brazen. But it was only the latest example of a troubling trend on the nation's railways linked to the soaring price of copper.

NEW YORK (AP) Last week's heist of 500 feet of copper cable stripped from open-air rail tracks in New York City was particularly brazen. But it was only the latest example of a troubling trend on the nation's railways linked to the soaring price of copper.

Chief Joseph Fox calls it a "money-making crime." He's the commander of the NYPD's Transit Bureau, and has created a special investigative unit with undercover officers who conduct sting operations at salvage yards.

With copper at $3 a pound on the scrap market, thefts are becoming increasingly common. Copper also has been stolen from rail systems in California and Washington state.

The theft in the Howard Beach section of Queens shut down parts of the subway's biggest lines and snarled the commute for 100,000 people.