Scott County sheriff seeking information on copper wire thefts
By ANGIE HAFLICH
On April 11, the Scott County Sheriff's Office received a report that several feet of copper had been stolen.
According to a press release from Wheatland Electric Inc., the company found approximately 26 poles along parts of its distribution lines in Scott County that had been stripped of its copper grounding wire.
"They took the copper ground wire that runs down the pole. They chopped it off and took off with several feet of it," Scott County Sheriff Glenn Anderson said.
According to Anderson, it is believed that the thefts occurred sometime between Jan. 1 and April 11. He said in many cases involving copper theft, perpetrators attach wires to vehicle bumpers and then drive until the wires break or come free.
"We've had some cases where they cut the wire at the bottom and then pull the staples out three or four feet and then tie it onto their bumper hitch and then take off and drive until all the staples all come out or until the wire breaks," Anderson said.
Scott County Deputy Keith Thomas investigated the thefts.
"He thought they went up as high as they thought they could reach (on the poles)," Anderson said.
According to the release, Wheatland estimates that the approximate value of the copper is only around $200, but the actual cost to repair the damage will be much greater. Factoring in replacement costs along with the labor to attach new ground wires to each pole, the cost could exceed $2,000.
"Copper theft drives up operation costs for the entire cooperative, and ultimately it's the membership who bear the cost of the vandalism." said Phillip Shelley, director of operations for Wheatland Electric.
Wheatland encourages all its members to be on the lookout for suspicious activity around power lines and utility poles and to report any such activity to the Scott County Sheriff's Office.
Anderson said there are currently no leads in the case.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Scott County Sheriff's Office at (620) 872-5805.