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#68898 - 08/21/06 07:03 AM Copper theft
rad74ss Offline

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 154
Loc: Pryor, OK USA

I think stealing vital infrastructure components should be a federal crime with massive fines and prison time.

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#68899 - 08/21/06 07:29 AM Re: Copper theft
Kenbo Offline

Registered: 04/07/06
Posts: 234
Loc: Scotland
Common problem when I worked with Scottish Power.

Was sent once to a switching station where all the copper earthing had been stollen form head hight down to the ground (all the towers were live at the time) We replaced it with 1 1/2" alliminum stapping. Only to get sent back a week later. They stole that too.

Called out to a sub station that had triped out to discover the undergound 11kv cable partly exposed. Someone had tried to dig it up then cut it live with an axe. We found the wooden axe handle but no head. Police phoned all the local hospitals but no one had been admitted with burns. It could only happen in Glasgow !!!!!!
der Gro├čvater

#68900 - 08/21/06 12:09 PM Re: Copper theft

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 865
Loc: Titirangi, Akld, New Zealand
We just had our first copper theft at Hobsonville substation.

Doors were forced open, security lights smashed, PIR sensors damaged.

They took all the earthing leads. Had a go at the 110 Volts DC batterybank but left that, they opened various cabinets for a peek inside.

Ok the theft is bad, but the sub is near a school. Kids could have entered.

I reckon harsh penalties have to apply here to the offenders.

They are already stealing heavy aluminium lids from distribution pillars.

Scrap dealers are now supposed to ask for photo id, if people bring in any scrap metal in large quantities.
The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.

#68901 - 08/21/06 12:49 PM Re: Copper theft
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9063
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
It might get tossed but I think the cops could find some "terrorism" type charges for destroying the power grid.
The PoCo could make sure somebody would get killed when they remove some easy looking piece but that would probably just get them sued, even if they did put big "high voltage present when removed" signs all over.

All they would need would be one very high resistance "fault" to the grounding grid.
In normal operation it would just waste a few watts of power but once you open it up and present that primary voltage it would get exciting fast...
... but that would be wrong
Greg Fretwell

#68902 - 08/21/06 01:22 PM Re: Copper theft
rabbitgun Offline

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 21
Had a situation in the Denver area recently. The guy hit two transformers in a new development area which were not hot. He made it to number three and made the wrong assumption with regard to it being hot. He is no longer with us upright folks.

#68903 - 08/22/06 12:57 AM Re: Copper theft
pauluk Offline

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
There was a story in the news here a while ago along similar lines, although I forget which area it was in (one of the big urban areas of the Midlands or North, I think).

Never mind jail time. The thief got the death penalty -- Self imposed & carried out on the spot, of course.

#68904 - 08/22/06 10:19 AM Re: Copper theft
earlydean Offline

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
So many crimes could be severely curtailed simply by imposing jail time or fines or both on the persons who enable these crimes. Such as the buyer of scrap copper, the employer of "illegals" or the giver of bribes as well as the receiver of bribes.

#68905 - 08/22/06 10:23 AM Re: Copper theft
rad74ss Offline

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 154
Loc: Pryor, OK USA
A few years ago we had a guy who stole a few boxes of return bends and took them to the scrap dealer. The boxes still had our shipping address on them so the dealer called us up and told us about it. We bought the parts back and he testified in court against the guy who stole them. If only everyone was like that.

#68906 - 08/22/06 10:24 AM Re: Copper theft
jraef Offline

Registered: 07/21/04
Posts: 93
Loc: San francisco, CA, USA
I posted this here last month; Wire Theft

We just got hit again. Stripped another control van of all the SO and W cables exposed to the outside, but they didn't manage to break into the van and strip the innards too thank goodness.

Simple solution? Start making scrappers require IDs when buying scrap copper from guys in pickup trucks.

#68907 - 08/26/06 10:43 AM Re: Copper theft
ehill Offline

Registered: 08/01/06
Posts: 27
I was talking with our local telco yesterday. She said they've had lots of problems. They seem to think it's people in the industry, based upon the location of the thefts.

OT, a little... But, we just had an article in our local paper about a guy who'd gotten caught steeling bronze flower vases from gravesites.

The thieving for recycling is getting pretty bad.


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