It's what they steal that's disconcerting. We have had a spate of burglaries here lately, what with many homes being unoccupied except for the vacationing Brit owners, many being very isolated.
Here's what the burglars stole from a friend's holiday cottage: The gas range and propane bottle/regulator. The ironing board. The washing machine. A log basket [!]. A shelf, brackets and 3 dry-pasta jars. All the best plates [Crown Derby], leaving the regular stuff. All the bed linen.
They did not steal: the new refrigerator, 2 new electric bicycles, the tv, the DVD player nor the satellite box.
They smashed the oak shutters to get to the main door and then shouldered the lock. They smashed the shed door with a concrete post. The damage caused getting in was around $1000 on the insurance claim. The same day/night they raided a neighboring home and stole 2 armchairs and a settee. The gendarmes said they are probably setting up home!
Oh, and a friend of mine spent a whole day with his employee getting an ancient granite manger/ trough out of a barn he owns. This massive lump of rock, lovingly hollowed out by some long dead peasant, must have weighed around 400 pounds. Left it in the yard overnight and went back to collect it next morning. You guessed it, it had been nicked!
Joe, ROFL! I had to go 'online dictionary' to define a 'pack-rat'! The locals don't need steroids, what with humping haybales/wrastling cows and hauling logs all the daylight hours. The bloaters [ the police, a bloater is a smoked herring- they sit in their squad cars smoking Gauloises all day! ] reckon the culprits were brits, but I just can't visualise a bunch of geriatric pensioners out on a caper! Old Georges, mon ami, is more sage. 'Addicts out of Rennes city' he says. 'Too hard stealing in town, with alarms and better locks etc. Rural areas,easy pickings.' Someone is stealing Georges' ducks, eggs and goslings. This is serious! I gotta have my goose at Xmas! The 16 gage shotgun is primed & ready for the night he catches the culprits in the act. He says 'I'm allowed to shoot them in the legs.' Too drastic for me, best get a good dog! Nothing like a nasty little Jack Russell terrier clamped on your blinking nethers to put you off thieving and steam up your bins!
I think the best solution to copper theft is to simply keep it energized. That's worked fairly well with copper thefts around major infastructure... the ultimate Darwin award.
Granted some have miracoulously gotten away, but that seems to be pretty rare.
We get into unrelated side issues of legal liability, a child being injured, and all of that, but the point is electrification is the utimate deterrent - and punishment all in one! Warning tape and danger signs should be sufficient - ignore them at your own peril.
If you think I'm wrong about this, shut a sub-station down, remove all the "danger" and "high volatage signs" and put up a sign that says "closed for maintenance". Watch how fast the place is cleared out.
Adding my two cents, I do think that a discussion about wire thefts, how to prevent them etc. is perfectly valid as a general issue here. What we don't want to do is end up going too far down the road of questioning why a certain person stole cables, whether it was purely his own fault, his parents' fault, society's fault, and so on. Obviously there's a fine and rather blurred dividing line, but cross over it too much and we could easily stray into areas which would best be avoided to keep everything nice and friendly.
Originally Posted by Theelectrikid
How about having the recyclers and scrapyards only accepting wire from licensed contractors?
I should probably keep my trap shut but, I have to disagree with that.
I have to agree with Ian. While such a scheme may reduce the incentive to steal copper in the first place if the thief knows it will be harder to "fence," is it fair that perfectly innocent people would then be unable to carry out a perfectly lawful transaction? It seems to me that it would be unfairly penalizing the law-abiding citizen.