Increased metal prices have caused copper thieves to target new prey in telephone and power company towers which use copper plates, wires and bars to ground their equipment. Eight such thefts, between Aug. 17 and 26, were reported to the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD). SCMPD warns residents that stealing copper from towers puts both its users and the thieves in danger.
A 41-year-old man trying to take copper from a Duke Energy substation in Cowpens, S.C., was electrocuted July 18. Firefighters responded to an explosion at the substation and discovered the thief who had been killed. The explosion left thousands without electrical power overnight.
Copper theft from towers also puts utility and cell phone companies’ customers in jeopardy of losing service. The copper equipment that is removed dissipates lightning strikes. If the equipment is not in place when such strikes occur, the tower can be destroyed and services to those customers lost.
SCMPD asks the public to be aware of copper thefts and report suspicious activity around towers. Anyone with information on such thefts is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 912-234-2020 or text CRIMES (274637). Tipsters remain anonymous and may quality for a cash reward.