Earl Thelander of Onawa, Iowa, became the nation’s first innocent copper theft fatality. Thelander died Sept. 1, 2007, after sustaining second- and third-degree burns over 80% of his body in an explosion caused by copper thieves.
Cold Cases Just Waiting to Happen:
The Copper Theft Epidemic
Copper theft is a serious, deadly crime, and a growing epidemic. From Iowa to Ohio and Australia to South Africa, copper thieves risk their own as well as other people’s lives, leaving in their wake paths of destruction and endless possibilities for more senseless deaths.
Legislation is critical — in every state. I offer the highest praise to states whose legislative bodies have not only passed tough laws in attempts to crack down on illegal scrap metal sales, but to states who’ve gone above and beyond standard legislation to expand the scope of these laws from copper to even more nonferrous metals. See where your state stands.
The articles below are a small sampling of how copper theft has impacted U.S. states and other countries. They are listed by National, followed by U.S. States, Federal, and International.
Copper thieves don’t steal just copper. They steal lives.
Copper theft: a worldwide, and sometimes lethal, epidemic
March 29, 2013 | Econowatch
What killed Thelma Morrow? At first glance, the answer seems obvious and not all that unusual. On the night of September 7, 2011, a car struck the 52-year old Miami woman as she crossed the road. It’s tragic, but pedestrian-car accidents happen all the time.
Yet something about Morrow’s death was different, and it had nothing to do with Morrow, the driver, or weather conditions. As a local news outlet reported at the time, “A 30-block stretch of road was unlit because copper wiring had been stolen from the street lights, rendering them inoperable.”
Radio Is More Prepared This TimeJune 22, 2010
Broadcast tower sites are like gold to copper thieves. Particularly attractive are AM transmission facilities that often feature extensive copper grounding systems.
Suspected Copper thief gets electrocuted during crime September 26, 2011 Chambers County, AL — A man trying to steal copper wiring from a power pole using a tree stand gets electrocuted in Chambers County. According to the Chambers County Sheriff, 46-year-old Gary Hamby was attempting to climb a utility pole using a deer stand Friday afternoon.
Man faces murder charge in April gas well death September 10, 2011
Jimmy Handley was killed in April when he became trapped between the arms of a gas well pump. Police said that Handley and Larry Willcutt Jr. were stealing copper from the gas well sites. Five months later, Willcutt is being charged with murder in Handley’s death.
National Center for Biotechnology Information Death during theft from electric utilities
A retrospective study of all individuals examined by the Jefferson County Coroner Medical Examiner Office from January 1981 through December 2001 found that 8 individuals died trying to steal from a power utility. All decedents were men, with an average age of 33 years. Seven of the decedents were stealing copper when killed.
“It’s easier to catch someone committing wiretapping than wire-ripping.”
~ Julie Delcour, Tulsa World, Okla.
Man Arrested in Copper Theft in Stolen Car February 9, 2010 Anchorage — On 1-8-10 Anchorage Police officers responded to the report of a subject selling suspicious copper to a metals recycling firm. The suspect, Charles Quales III, a 49 year old Anchorage resident, was stopped not far from the recycling center, driving a red 1999 Ford Expedition. During the course of the investigation, officers discovered that the metal Quales was attempting to recycle had been stolen in a burglary from a Providence Hospital worksite. The red Ford had also been stolen.
The attorney general’s office says the case began after the September traffic stop of a truck carrying nearly $180,000 of raw copper stolen from the Asarco mine in Hayden.
The Department of Public Safety says two Asarco, LLC employees, Rene Joe Arbizo and Gene Carlo Garcia, were involved in the theft of nearly $10 million of the metal. Defendants who had been working at the mine have been fired.
Other defendants are accused of driving the copper loads to recyclers in California and Arizona, who would buy it for a fraction of market value.
PD: Copper thief electrocuted in Glendale March 28, 2013 | CBS Channel 5
GLENDALE, AZ (AP) - A man found next to a transformer at a vacant Glendale business with burns over his entire body has died, authorities said. Glendale police said 57-year-old Gregory Johnson died Thursday at a hospital. They said Johnson was found Thursday in a commercial yard near 51st Avenue and Bethany Home Road.
Copper thieves target work sites, A/C units April 24, 2008 Thefts of copper and equipment containing copper are continuing in the Forrest City area, involving items from a single air conditioner to more than 1,000 feet of telephone wire.
Alleged Copper Thief Dies After Being Shocked in Anaheim
May 11, 2013 | KTLA Channel 5 ANAHEIM, Calif. (KTLA) — A man died after allegedly trying to steal copper wires from a hotel near Disneyland on Friday night. He and another man were shocked when they allegedly attempted the theft, suffering severe burns and touching off an explosion and power outage.
The blast happened around 9 p.m. near a vacant hotel on Katella Avenue. It caused several other neighborhood hotels and businesses filled with tourists to go dark. However, power was restored a few hours later.
Anaheim police told KTLA5 News the men caused the explosion when they cut into live wires. The pair was located behind a locked gate near two electrical panels, and several bolts had been removed from the panels. One of the suspected thieves was homeless and had been hoping to make a little money off of the copper wires, witnesses said.
Brownie was electrocuted while out on a walk with his owner. Copper thieves had left a live wire exposed beneath the metal cover of an underground utility box. Courtesy ABC News
Dog electrocuted by exposed wires inside park utility box March 27, 2013 – ABC News Ch. 7 HIGHLAND PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) – A dog named “Brownie” may have become a hero by accident after saving park visitors from a hidden electrical hazard. The dog was electrocuted as he stepped on the metal cover of a utility box in the ground. Officials blame vandals who may have been trying to steal copper.
On a Monday morning walk through San Pascual Park with his owners, he suddenly howled. Michel Giraldo went to the trembling dog.
“His body was still moving so I thought his little legs were still twitching and his face was too, so I thought maybe he was still alive, maybe going through some sort of attack,” said Giraldo.
Michel soon realized that electricity had energized a metal plate on top of a buried utility box in the grass.
“As soon as I grabbed his leg, the current just hit me. I felt the electricity go through my arm, so I already knew that’s what it was,” said Giraldo.
The hazard was created when thieves apparently stole copper wiring from the utility box.
Alleged copper wire thief dies after suffering electrical burns May 7, 2012 – Los Angeles Times A 26-year-old man who was seriously burned allegedly while trying to take copper wiring from a Southern California Edison electrical relay station has died, according to the San Bernardino County coroner’s office. Michael Morga Garcia, a San Bernardino resident, died at 8:32 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, the coroner’s office reported on its website.
FONTANA: Wire theft suspect electrocuted April 16, 2012 – The Press-Enterprise
A 26-year-old man, apparently bent on stealing copper wire from a utility pole near Fontana, was electrocuted, dying at the scene, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
Inland lawmaker’s bill targets copper thieves
July 22, 2011 – The Press-Enterprise SACRAMENTO - Copper theft continues to be a scourge in Inland Southern California, resulting in dozens of stolen fire hydrants, stripped streetlights, and even deaths from electrocution.
Copper thieves strike at Facebook’s future HQ
KGO-TV – June 30, 2011 MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) — Menlo Park police are investigating three separate copper thefts at the site of Facebook’s future headquarters. Construction crews say someone took the copper from a storage unit and two of the nine vacant buildings on the …
Scripture To Think About: Proverbs 1:7-19 By mystere’s moonbat slayer club (mystere’s moonbat slayer club)
Recently, I had gotten an email from one of the Crawford Broadcasting Company engineers regarding the huge number of copper theft incidents going on nationwide. I emailed the engineers about the fact that someone will sooner or later …
San Diego Daily Transcript (subscription) – San Diego,CA,USA
Authorities say a man has been killed in an El Monte fire and explosion being attributed to an attempt to pilfer copper wires.
Suspected copper thief electrocuted October 29, 2009
An alleged thief was electrocuted in the commission of a crime early Wednesday and died later at a hospital, Pueblo police said. The victim was identified as 28-year-old Brian Repinski of Pueblo.
Courtesy photo thedenverchannel.com
Timothy Allan Nolan was sentenced to 14 years in state prison for his role in a series of copper thefts.
Man Gets 14 Years For Stealing Copper: Nolan Accused of Stealing 33,000 Pounds of Metal August 15, 2007 DENVER — A man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for helping steal copper and other metals from businesses in the metro area.
Police seek public’s help in copper theft investigation
June 23, 2011 Danielson, Conn. — Facing a significant increase in the theft of copper and other metal from vacant houses, state police at the Danielson barracks are turning to the public for help. Lt. Francis Conroy, commanding officer of the Danielson barracks, said the thefts have occurred throughout the 12-town northeastern Connecticut region covered by Troop D.
Copper Theft in Delaware May 13, 2010
It appears that some people haven’t thought carefully about their metals business plan before moving to secure investment dollars. WGMD News has reported that the Delaware State Police issued a news release that three irrigation systems have been targeted for copper tubing theft in the Frankford, MD area in the past several weeks. This follows another news release from January in which the Delaware State Police asked for citizens to be aware of copper theft in farming irrigation systems.
Siblings arrested in copper theft case
Bridgeville, DE – March 28, 2008 (WPVI) — Detectives assigned to the Troop 4 Property Crimes Unit completed a four day investigation into thefts of metal from a local irrigation service business. The investigation began on Tuesday after an employee of O.A. Newton Company reported a theft of property from the business located at 16356 Sussex Highway in near Bridgeville.
April 7, 2008 - The Ledger
MONDAY PROFILE | BRIAN GARRETT ‘Takes His Convictions Seriously’
BARTOW | At an isolated electric substation, the Polk sheriff’s lieutenant looked for signs of copper theft and for stolen cars that might be hidden between rows of trees that drooped with fruit and blossoms.
Copper Thefts: Lawmakers consider tougher penalties
Tallahassee, Florida — With copper prices soaring, so is copper theft, creating power outages, communication breakdowns and other issues beyond the immediate thievery. The problem has gotten so bad — some people think the economic slowdown contributes to the crime — that legislators are likely to increase penalties for copper theft that damages or interrupts utilities or communication services. A bill moving quickly through the House and Senate would make such theft a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Copper Theft Death May 9, 2008
A 36-year-old Rockmart, Georgia., man is dead after authorities say he tried to cut copper cable from a Georgia Power Company Pole. Floyd County police identified the victim as Derek Charles Siniard. The incident happened at about 6 a.m. Saturday. Hall says Siniard collapsed while cutting the line.
Copper Theft Crackdown
May 7, 2008
South Carolina legislators are trying to cut down on people stealing copper, and selling it for cash. Under the proposal heading to the Senate, people selling scrap copper would have to show photo i-d. The proposal makes theft of copper, aluminum, and stainless steel beer kegs a felony. If the loss or damage caused by the theft is more than five-thousand dollars, the thief could face up to ten years in prison. Damages between one and five thousand dollars would mean five years behind bars. The bill aslo states that scrap dealers must make photocopies of a seller’s i-d.
No easy solution to theft of copper
Robert Okuda, his mother and father unceremoniously turn away suspicious-looking characters who show up every day at their family’s recycling business with plenty of copper pipes, copper wire and other copper parts — but no identification and no reasonable explanation of how they got the copper.
Copper theft on the rise. Guess what? You’re paying the price
April 25, 2008
CALDWELL – In the past nine months, the price of copper has skyrocketed and that has an underground and illegal theft industry thriving in Idaho. Thieves are striking construction sites, power companies, and farms. And they’re cashing in at up $3.00 a pound.
Daniel Paige was electrocuted Sept. 1, 2013, after cutting a live wire while attempting to steal copper. (Courtesy Illinois Dept. of Corrections)
Around 3:30 p.m. Monday, a friend of Daniel J. Paige, 50, directed police to his body near some ComEd lines on the property of Seeler Industries, 1 Genstar Lane, according to Will County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas. Paige’s brother reported him missing to Joliet police on Sunday.
Identity released of Murphysboro electrocution victim March 12, 2012 MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - The identity of a Murphysboro man who died after being electrocuted has been released. Police say he and two other men tried to steal copper wire Monday morning from a building. Jacob Worthen, 26, of Murphysboro was found dead inside an abandoned manufacturing facility, according to Murphysboro police.
Lockport Man Electrocuted in Park November 29, 2011 A Lockport man was electrocuted Wednesday night while trying to steal copper wire at Dellwood Park West, according to police. “One viable print” from the badly burned body of Richard E. Duncan, 62, led to his identification Thursday evening, Will County Coroner Patrick O’Neil said.
Sword stolen from statue at Lincoln’s TombNovember 12, 2011 (AP) SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Copper thieves have struck at Abraham Lincoln’s burial site in Springfield, Ill. An employee recently noticed that a copper statue atop the tomb was missing a 3-foot-long sword. The statue is of a Civil War artillery officer. The sword was allegedly taken sometime between September and early November. It was broken at the handle.
Police: Electrocution victim was stealing copper from wire October 27, 2011 LOCKPORT TOWNSHIP, IL — Police say Richard E. Duncan of Lockport was stealing copper wires when he was electrocuted Wednesday night at Dellwood Park West. “One viable print” from the badly burned body of Duncan, 62, led to his identification Thursday evening, Will County Coroner Patrick K. O’Neil said.
Courtesy photo Illinois Department of Corrections
According to authorities, Mark W. Becker, 34, was electrocuted Oct. 14, 2011, in Madison County, Ill., while attempting to steal electrical wires.
Officials: Granite City man killed trying to steal electrical wiring October 15, 2011
A Granite City man who allegedly was attempting to steal electrical wiring was electrocuted Thursday, according to Madison County officials. Mark William Becker, 34, was pronounced dead at 12:40 a.m. Friday on the property of 10 Cut St. in unincorporated Alton, by Madison County Coroner’s Supervisory Investigator Robert M. Lewis.
Courtesy photo KMOV Channel 4, St. Louis
Police: Man severely shocked in attempted copper theft in custody
June 16, 2011 EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOV) – A Wood River, Illinois man has been taken into custody after attempting to steal copper. Shane Reese, 35, was charged Wednesday with one felony count of criminal damage to property. According to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Reese was found last Sunday badly burned, bleeding and naked near the Ameren IP substation on Cut Street in Alton, Illinois.
Ameren’s simply safety message: Don’t try to kill yourselves — or us Herald & Review – June 9, 2011 DECATUR – Ameren Illinois is generating a simple safety message for its customers: please don’t try to kill yourselves, or us. Two of the biggest dangers out there, say utility officials, are wrongly wired portable generators and the theft of copper wiring from its substations. Both situations can have catastrophic and expensive consequences.
Courtesy photo WTHR Channel 13
According to police, Jeffrey Reynolds, 31, was electrocuted while he was stealing copper wire from the roof of Circle City Industrial Complex, an industrial building on Massachusetts Avenue near downtown Indianapolis.
Copper theft nets man 7 years in prison September 30, 2011
A South Bend man will serve a little more than seven years in prison for helping to steal almost $3 million of material from a Gary warehouse.
According to police, Jeffrey Reynolds, 31, was electrocuted while he was stealing copper wire from the roof of Circle City Industrial Complex, an industrial building on Massachusetts Avenue near downtown. The fire department and IPL had to remove the body and turn off power to make it safe. Crews closed Massachusetts Avenue between Columbia Ave and Newman Street for several hours Thursday morning.
Charges filed in copper wire death
June 27, 2007 | Indystar.com SHELBYVILLE, Ind. — A man faces charges in the death of an accomplice who police say was fatally shocked while the two were trying to steal copper wire. Gary L. Olds, 52, of Columbus, was arrested Monday and was being held without bond in the Shelby County Jail in the death of David A. Hoagland, 35, of Edinburgh. Olds was scheduled to be in court Wednesday.
Hoagland’s body was found June 8 in a soybean field near Flat Rock, about 25 miles southeast of Indianapolis. An autopsy determined that he had burns on his arms and legs and died of electric shock.
Iowa scrap metal law presents mixed results
June 23, 2013 | The Sioux City Journal SIOUX CITY — An Iowa law meant to curb scrap metal theft hasn’t put a dent in raids on construction sites, rural farmsteads and businesses, police say.
Arrest made on copper thefts
February 27, 2013 | Southwest Iowa News
The Harrison County Communications Center received a call from a Monona County farmer, Feb. 21, advising of a suspicious vehicle in a field. The farmer reported the vehicle and occupants were southbound from Blencoe and were trespassing on his property.
Deputies from Harrison County stopped the vehicle at the Mondamin exchange near Interstate 29. After a brief investigation, the officers discovered the occupants had been in Monona County burning copper wire. A joint investigation with Monona and Harrison County began. During the course of this investigation several hundred pounds of copper wire were recovered along with burglary tools.
Two subjects, Vincent Cerny, 35, and Heather Avila, 30, both of Omaha, were charged in Monona County and are currently being held in the Monona County Jail on several felonies each with bonds of $10,000.
Omaha pair in custody for bulk copper theft
February 23, 2013 | Southwest Iowa News and Omaha.com
An Omaha pair are in custody in connection with the theft of several hundred pounds of copper wire. Around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, a Monona County farmer called authorities to report spotting a suspicious vehicle trespassing in his field, which was then traveling southbound from Blencoe, the Monona County Sheriff’s Office said.
Harrison County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped the vehicle on Interstate 29 near Mondamin, and after an investigation found the couple, Vincent Cerny, 35, and Heather Avila, 30, had been burning copper wire in Monona County.
3 jailed in copper theft from phone tower
November 15, 2012 | Omaha World Herald COUNCIL BLUFFS — Three people remained in jail Wednesday on suspicion of stealing copper from a U.S. Cellular phone tower just north of Council Bluffs, according to the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office. Jodi R. Huftless, 24, of Plattsmouth, Neb., April M. Hinman, 32, of Pacific Junction, Iowa, and David J. Jay, 31, of Glenwood, Iowa, were arrested Saturday morning.
Five States Get Copper Theft Laws
April 23, 2012 | Ect.Coop
Fighting metal theft has long been a priority for Georgia’s co-ops and one of those hardest hit is pleased with the measure Gov. Nathan Deal approved. “The prohibition of cash payments, registration of recyclers, and maintenance of a statewide database should help curtail these crimes,” said Tom Parker, vice president, external affairs and member relations at Georgia Transmission Corp. Last year, Georgia Transmission had 143 copper theft incidents, and this year it has already had 29. Each incident is estimated to cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
3 arrested for copper theft at Sans Souci Island Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier — April 23, 2011 WATERLOO, Iowa — A call concerning suspicious people hanging around abandoned homes on Sans Souci island led to arrests for stealing scrap metal Friday.
Copper theft bill passes House
March 3, 2011 | Des Moines Register
Iowa’s local governments would be permitted to pass copper theft ordinances requiring salvage dealers to keep complete records of their suppliers.
Rise in copper prices causes increase in theft – Radio Iowa January 3, 2011
Copper, which is used in plumbing and wiring, is over four dollars a pound and Cedar Rapids police spokesperson Cristy Hamblin says thieves have been bold about stealing it.
Copper Thieves Sneak into Monona County Fields KCAU-TV, Sioux City, IA — April 2, 2010
They used to stick to the cities, but now copper thieves are headed out into the country in search of a metal that’s going for a high price these days. In the past three months, the Monona County Sheriff’s Department has had 17 different thefts of copper from farm’s irrigation systems, creating a big thorn in the side of local farmers and costing them big bucks.
Harris man arrested on copper theft October 12, 2008 SPIRIT LAKE, IA — Police say a 28-year-old Harris, Iowa, man has been arrested for suspicion of stealing copper from a farm site in rural Dickinson County. According to a statement issued Thursday, Dickinson County sheriff deputies arrested Charles Gerald Caviness on Wednesday on a felony charge of second-degree theft and misdemeanor charges of third-degree theft and failure to register as a sex offender.
Courtesy photo Sioux City Journal
“No one is going to let this go away,” Doug Thelander told the Sioux City Journal two months after his father, Earl Thelander, died from burns suffered in an explosion caused by copper thieves.
All that Remains
Slideshow video of all that remains of a rural Iowa home after copper thieves cut propane lines and let the home fill with gas. The house later exploded, leading to the death of Earl Thelander of Onawa, Ia. Those responsible have yet to be arrested.
Copper theft, even from high-voltage utility equipment, has spiked since last year, Bundy said. The top line on the utility pole where the man was found Friday carries 7,200 volts, Bundy said.
Getting away with metal Hutchinson News – Hutchinson, KS, USA GREAT BEND – Scott Loving has battled a lot of issues in the couple of decades he’s helped run his family’s Pawnee and Barton county farm – everything from input costs to inclement weather. But in all his years of farming, he never thought he’d see anything like this recent plague: copper theft.
Police in Louisville, Ny., are trying to identify this person of interest in a series of copper thefts in southern Indiana. (Courtesy photo Floyd County Sheriff)
Police Searching for Copper Theft Suspect November 15, 2011 LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Police said there is a new lead in a series of copper thefts in southern Indiana. Floyd County Sheriff’s officers said they have a person of interest and a vehicle they believe may have involved in the copper caper. Police are trying to identify a man seen in surveillance video who they believe may have some knowledge about the case.
Copper theft becoming serious issue Times-Tribune – July 21, 2011
Law enforcement in the Tri-County said they have seen copper theft create many issues in the area recently with phone lines and that copper theft can be a very dangerous risk to take.
PSC WARNS AGAINST COPPER THEFT
Activity is both illegal and extremely dangerous FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 31, 2006) – With the theft of electrical wire on the increase because of the soaring price of copper, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) today warned that the activity can have lethal consequences.
Courtesy photo Houma Today
Timothy Lewis, 34, was electrocuted at a substation while cutting a ground wire in an attempt to steal copper wiring, Terrebonne sheriff’s deputies said. His 20-year-old girlfriend fled the scene after his death but was later arrested.
Courtesy photo Daily Comet
Tonya Naquin, 20, was arrested and charged with unauthorized entry of a business, attempted theft over $500 and a simple criminal damage to property over $5000. She was held at the Terrebonne Parish jail in lieu of a $100,500 bond, and faced up to 9 years in prison if convicted. Her boyfriend, 34-year-old Timothy Lewis, was killed in the attempted copper theft.
Electric shock kills alleged copper thief August 3, 2011
A Houma man was killed early this morning by an electrical shock at the Entergy substation while cutting a ground wire in an attempt to steal copper wiring, Terrebonne sheriff’s deputies said. The charred body of 34-year-old Timothy Lewis, 144 Vivian St., was found about 2 a.m. by Entergy employees responding to the resulting power outage.
Lewis and his 20-year-old girlfriend, Tonya Naquin, cut through a fence surrounding the substation, 1701 Coteau Road, and Lewis was killed while cutting a ground wire. Naquin then fled, and was arrested shortly after police issued a warrant for her arrest.
Copper Thieves Go Against Work of Church July 5, 2011 LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Copper thieves strike again– this time causing thousands of dollars in damage to a facility that will play a key role in the future of Catholics in our area. It’s a building undergoing renovations to help young men considering the priesthood. Diocese Officials hope they’ll be able to stay on track with the opening planned for August.
Don’t take a chance with your life
The rash of copper thefts in the state has prompted the Louisiana Legislature to pass two laws during the 2007 Legislative Session that directly impact the stealing of copper from utilities. House Bill 184 makes the theft of utility property a crime punishable of a fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment for not less than two years or more than 10 years, or both.
Real estate agent says copper theft averted
May 7, 2008 MERCER — Men in the process of cutting out all the copper pipe in a house for sale on U.S. Route 2 Monday evening were interrupted by the arrival of a real estate agent and prospective buyers. “It was quite a surprise. I saw a strange truck in the driveway when we pulled in,” said Dan Savage from Surette Century 21. “We had gone around the back and I walked right into one of them coming up from the basement stairs, carrying a load of copper.
Indictment in Md. copper theft plot June 18, 2010
A federal grand jury has indicted an Annapolis man on charges of theft in an alleged plot to steal copper cables worth more than $300,000. The indictment against 54-year-old Levon Smith was returned on Tuesday. Smith was arrested on Thursday.
Two charged in Anne Arundel air conditioner theft April 29, 2010 – The Washington Post
A man and woman from Severn were arrested after they were caught stealing air conditioners they planned to loot for scrap copper from a Hanover business, the Anne Arundel police announced Thursday. The suspects, David F. Burrows, 46, and Jeanne Z. Simms, 45, both of Severn, were arrested and charged with trespassing and theft, according to a press release.
Copper thieves get killed cutting into power lines September 27, 2006 — USA Today
At least seven men in five states have been fatally electrocuted since July while hacking through power lines to steal wire made of copper, which has been commanding near-record prices, police say.
On Minneapolis’ North Side, copper-theft epidemic adds to mounting housing problems April 10, 2008
The strange whooshing sound first caught Farrokh Azmoudeh’s attention Monday afternoon. Then the stench of natural gas hit him — all coming from a dilapidated brick duplex on a troubled block in Minneapolis’ Hawthorne neighborhood. Azmoudeh, lead inspector with the city’s Problem Properties Unit, quickly checked out the building at 2518 N. Fourth St. and discovered the source of the noise and smell: a stream of gas spewing from a length of severed copper pipe connected to the meter on the outside of the house.
Copper Theft – Is the law working? July 27, 2010 JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – Skyrocketing prices for metals, especially copper, has turned a minor nuisance into an epidemic. Copper theft costs over $1 billion a year according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Senator David Blount on the 2008 Legislative Accomplishments April 30, 2008 - By Staff of Y’all Politics
Tougher penalties for copper theft: Copper theft is a crisis in our community. A recent theft at Magnolia Speech School cost the school more than $100000. Some warning sirens failed to work in the recent tornadoes due to stolen copper.
Copper Theft Silences Siren WLBT-TV – Jackson, MS
About 10 of Hinds county’s 60 warning sirens did not work during Friday’s storms. Emergency Management Director Larry Fisher says, in most cases, it’s a repair issue that causes the failure, but it was copper thieves who put lives in danger by disabling one warning siren north of Watkins Drive and Beasley Road, near Fire Station 21.
Suspected Thief Electrocuted
June 13, 2011 St. Louis, Mo. (KMOX) — A man was electrocuted Sunday night in Madison County while, police suspect, he was attempting to steal copper wire. Three witnesses stated they were driving in Alton, Ill., when they saw the man screaming for help, badly burned and bleeding.
Two severely burned at Progress Energy Substation June 7, 2010
Two people were severely burned overnight when they apparently climbed over the fence surrounding a Progress Energy substation in Wake County and touched live wires inside, according to officials from the Wake County sheriff office and the power company.
Copper thieves turn to graves in Dunklin County Southeast Missourian - Cape Girardeau, MO
… area to report to authorities any suspicious activity they witness, specifically regarding the recent cases surrounding copper theft,” Chidister said.
Four Sentenced in Copper Theft MISSOULA – Four Hungry Horse residents have been sentenced on federal charges stemming from copper thefts from Flathead Valley power substations.
Copper Theft Leaves Las Vegas Streets Dark
April 18, 2008 – KLAS-TV – Las Vegas, NV
It’s found in air conditioning systems, utility substations, light poles and more. Criminals see copper as a shining opportunity and quick cash.
Spike in copper thefts spurs look at NH law
July 24, 2011 — The Union Leader
Police from the Lakes Region to Nashua are trying to stem the theft of copper, and some say it might help them if New Hampshire adopted a law like one in Vermont.
Courtesy photo phillyburbs.com via Facebook
Patrick Dembrowski, 21, of Woodland, N.J., was electrocuted attempting to steal copper from a generator at a vacant building in Warrington.
Man electrocuted trying to take copper wire
PhillyBurbs.com – August 24, 2011
A 21-year-old New Jersey man was electrocuted attempting to steal copper wiring from a vacant Warrington building shortly before midnight Aug. 16, according to police. Patrick D. Dembrowski was dead when police arrived at the former METCO Manufacturing at Countyline Road and Titus Avenue.
Los Lunas, N.M. police released the photo of Dennis Vega’s badly burned body in hopes it would deter criminals who try to steal copper. Vega, 48, was burned when he broke into a cabinet company’s pump house and cut live copper cables.
Los Lunas police have released the photo of a man they say was severely burned after he attempted to steal live copper cables.
The photo of 48-year-old Dennis Vega’s badly burned torso and face is shocking in more ways than one and police are hoping criminals take notice.
Police say Vega broke into the pump house of a Los Lunas cabinet company that recently went out of business. They say he was cutting the live copper cables when he was shocked and thrown across the building.
Rescue crews who arrived on the scene say minutes after the incident the force was still so strong it blew out a second generator.
Police say Vega somehow made it to the Wal-Mart down the street to ask for help. They say the car Vega was driving even had burnt skin stuck to the seats.
Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick says Vega was unemployed so he likely doesn’t have medical insurance, which means the public will be paying his medical bills.
Eric Waterstram, 37, of Niagara Falls, and Crystal D. Knepp, 28, of Newfane, were each charged with felony second-degree burglary, felony second-degree criminal mischief and petit larceny after a natural gas explosion destroyed an unoccupied home where the two were trying to steal copper.
Couple charged in house explosion: Man, woman have history of copper theft arrests October 25, 2011 TOWN OF NIAGARA — A natural gas explosion in July that destroyed a home and caused injuries on the busy Military Road business strip was the result of thieves detaching a gas pipe while trying to steal copper from the basement of an unoccupied house.
Now, a man and woman believed to be responsible have been arrested and face felony charges, the Niagara County sheriff said at a news conference Monday.
Eric Waterstram, 37, of Niagara Falls, and Crystal D. Knepp, 28, of Newfane, were each charged each with felony second-degree burglary, felony second-degree criminal mischief and petit larceny.
Courtesy photo The Daily News
David R. Grove, 32, was shot in the basement of a home gutted by a fire the night before that had killed a 52-year-old woman.
Police pursuing ‘many avenues’ in Albion slaying August 20, 2011 ALBION, NY – Police are pursuing ‘‘many avenues and working several leads’’ in connection with the weekend slaying of a village man, Village Police Chief Roland Nenni said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Few new details were released, however, regarding the shooting death of David R. Grove, 32, a parolee who lived at 127 West State St. Grove was shot while in the basement of 222 West State St. early Saturday morning, a house that was gutted by fire Thursday night that killed a 52-year-old woman.
PoconoNews.net – Newburgh, New York April 8, 2008
One theft happened over the weekend at a building company in Delaware Township. Police say one or more people broke into Vanatta Realty and Builders, on Conashaugh Road, and removed several hundred dollars worth of copper wire and tubing.
No charges against NC man who killed copper thief
Sept. 28, 2013 | WBTW-TV News WENTWORTH, N.C. (AP) – Prosecutors have determined they won’t be charging a man who shot and killed a copper thief. The News & Record of Greensboro reports that Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. said Friday he would not be bringing charges against Steve Hall. Hall shot and killed Jesse Ray Walker at about 3 a.m. on July 8. Authorities say Walker was carrying copper wire away from Hall’s Reidsville business.
Brandon Joe Hanks (courtesy Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office)
Brandon Joe Hanks, 27, is charged with breaking and entering, felony larceny and felony possession of stolen property. Hanks and Jesse Ray Walker, 28, are alleged to have broken into Hall Well & Plumbing on Flat Rock Road in Reidsville shortly after 3 a.m. Walker was shot and killed by an employee of the business.
Courtesy photo Fair Funeral Home
Brandon Lee Creasy, 23, was electrocuted while allegedly attempting to remove copper wiring from a power company’s substation.
The man was identified Brandon Creasy, 23 of Eden, NC. The Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office out of Virginia is investigating the death. Officers there said they believe Creasy was electrocuted while attempting to remove copper wiring from the substation.
Courtesy photo ABC News
Police in northeast Charlotte, NC, say Thomas Freeman was killed after cutting an electrical line and falling 30 feet to the ground.
Man Shocked to Death in Copper Robbery January 7, 2011 | ABC News
Police say Thomas Freeman and two other men came up with the plan at Freeman’s house late yesterday afternoon. But that plan took a deadly turn when Freeman tried to climb a utility pole and cut electrical lines with a bolt cutter.
Freeman was killed when he climbed a tall ladder, cut an electrical line, was shocked and fell 30 feet to the ground. The two men with him rushed him to the hospital, but Freeman later died.
Courtesy photo Gaston County Police
Matthew Warren Ward, 29, was electrocuted while stealing copper from a Duke Power sub-station.
Fire and police responded to a possible fire at the sub-station in the 400 block of Hovis Road in Stanly around 11:40 p.m. The body of Matthew Warren Ward, 29, was found after crews put out the fire, Gaston County Police said.
Deputies: Man Electrocuted While Stealing Wire: John Wesley Hylemon Dies Early Wednesday Morning March 30, 2011 MCDOWELL COUNTY, N.C. – A 19-year-old man was killed early Wednesday morning when he was electrocuted when trying to steal copper wire from a substation, and the man he was with is charged in the death, the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office said.
McDowell County sheriff’s Capt. Shannon Smith said 19-year-old John Wesley Hylemon, of Marion, N.C., was with 31-year-old Steven Jason Patton, of Nebo, at the Duke Power substation off Highway 126 in the Nebo Community when Hylemon was electrocuted at about 5 a.m.
Courtesy photo The (NC) Pilot
William J. Reavis, 23, cut a ground wire atop a high-voltage regulator and came in contact with a deadly charge of electricity.
Fatal Copper Theft Attempt
Sept. 7, 2010
William J. Reavis shouldn’t have been inside the normally locked fenced perimeter of a co-op substation in Raeford, N.C. on Aug. 14. But the 23-year-old man was perched atop a high-voltage regulator around 4 a.m. when he apparently cut a ground wire and came in contact with a deadly charge of electricity.
Cable Theft Cuts Phone, Internet Service in Durham February 24, 2008
DURHAM, N.C. — The theft of two aerial cables left about 480 Verizon customers without landline or cell phone and Internet service in parts of southern and eastern Durham on Saturday.
Not only does copper theft from electric service equipment often injure or kill those stealing it, it also is a federal offense. “The Department of Homeland Security considers interference with the electrical grid to be a potential act of terrorism,” said Otter Tail Company’s safety service manager Eric Hamm said.
Gardner Shop Reports Large Copper Theft April 1, 2010
The Cass County Sheriff`s Office is investigating an apparent large copper theft. Authorities say a shop in the small town of Gardner reported that about 650 pounds of scrap copper and copper wire disappeared in the past two weeks. At current recycling prices, the copper is worth about $2,000.
Also see: Law enforcement investigates theft of copper in Gardner
We have seen them defile cemeteries for a few pounds of bronze. Destroy sculpture thinking a scrap dealer wouldn’t recognize a hand as a piece of art. Electrocute themselves cutting into a high-voltage copper line. And spark explosions that destroy homes and endanger neighborhoods while stripping natural gas lines.
All of these things have been reported multiple times — and not just in newspapers, which we’re kind of hoping people stupid enough to disconnect a functioning gas line don’t read — but on television and radio. And if there’s a pantheon of thieves, don’t they ever talk to each other about the best and worst practices of their craft?
We can only assume not, because last week in Austintown there was another near disaster when a home at 2196 S. Turner Road exploded as the result of thieves breaking a gas line while stealing scrap. The house valued at about $80,000 was destroyed, but it could have been worse.
Man found dead at electrical substation
June 30, 2009 | Vindy.com GUSTAVUS — An electrocution during an apparent copper theft is not the first time such a deadly incident has occurred in the Mahoning Valley. Ohio Edison officials and local authorities found a man’s body at an electrical substation in Gustavus Township on Monday morning while responding to a power outage.
About 2,000 Ashtabula and Trumbull county residents were without power for a time after the man was electrocuted about 1:30 a.m. at the Stoddard-Hayes Road facility. He could not be immediately identified because of the severity of his burns.
Copper thieves strike old train station in Elyria: Damages of $75,000 prompt county to add security cameras
Cindy Leise | The Chronicle-Telegram | March 29, 2008
ELYRIA — Copper thieves have caused so much damage to copper flashing and decorative panels on the historic New York Central train station on Depot Street that it will cost the county nearly $75,000 to repair.
Ohio Senate’s metal bill irks city:Anti-theft measure would be statewide
Thursday, March 13, 2008 3:33 AM
BY JIM SIEGEL -THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
As thieves continue to cash in on rising scrap-metal prices by swiping air conditioners, automobile parts and telephone wiring, state lawmakers and Ohio municipal officials are wrestling over who can craft the best law to stop them.
Sheriff’s Office: Oklahoma Man Found Dead After Attempted Copper Theft August 2, 2013 | Menafn Times Record
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) –An Oklahoma man was found electrocuted in Sebastian County late Wednesday after he allegedly tried to steal copper from an old concrete plant, and deputies are looking for a suspect in the attempted theft.
Robert Ben Sizemore, 38, of Stilwell, Okla., was found dead at an old Twin Cities Ready Mix concrete plant off Old Highway 271 South about 10:43 p.m., according to a news release from Maj. Kevin Nickson with the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office.
Michael Paul Cradduck
Steven Ray Cavenee
One Dead, One Injured in Attempted Copper Theft Near Calumet March 11, 2012 | NewsOn6.com
CANADIAN COUNTY, Oklahoma - An attempted theft at an oil field in rural Canadian County ends with one man dead and another in critical condition. According to the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, 30-year-old Steven Ray Cavenee and 22-year-old Michael Paul Cradduck were attempting to steal copper off an oil pump located at 122nd Street N.W. and North Heaston Road near Calumet.
Electric cooperatives battling copper thefts September 11, 2011
Soaring metal prices have been blamed for an increase in thefts of copper and aluminum, primary components of electric distribution lines. Recent thefts of copper wire and equipment from electric utilities have been responsible for power outages, additional maintenance and expenses, diminished service reliability, and, in some cases, serious injury or death.
Man gets murder charge after Okla. copper theft deathJune 14, 2011 DRUMRIGHT – A felony murder charge has been filed against a 19-year-old Drumright resident for his alleged involvement in an attempt to steal copper that led to the death of an accomplice. Police say 18-year-old Cody Holland was electrocuted May 26 during an attempt to steal copper from a transformer. Jacob Lee Matherly was charged Friday with felony murder. State law allows for a murder charge if a person is killed during the commission of a felony.
In April 2008, five tornado warning sirens in Jackson, Miss., failed to warn citizens of an approaching tornado because copper thieves had rendered the sirens inoperable.
~ Daily O’Collegian, Oklahoma State University
Copper pipes stolen from Student Union basement
ocolly.com – June 6, 2011
Copper culprits have been hard at work as of late, and the Student Union basement is a recent victim of their handiwork. The Oklahoma State University Police Department responded to a report of theft of copper pipe from the Student Union around 8:30 a.m. Friday, according to a release.
Courtesy KFOR NewsChannel 4
Shad Mills, 40, was in the middle of pulling down a power pole when it snapped and caught fire. Lawmen say the suspected copper thief was shocked to death.
Thief electrocuted stealing copper March 3, 2011 LINDSAY, Okla. — A suspected thief is shocked to death after an unusual attempted copper theft. Lawmen say 40-year-old Shad Mills was in middle of pulling down a power pole when it snapped and caught fire.
Thieves take copper theft to new heights June 8, 2010 EDMOND, OK — Copper theft is nothing new. But recently, crooks have gone to new heights to steal the valuable metal. There have been several reports of thieves getting into cell phone tower sites and raiding hundreds of feet of copper. Over the weekend, Justin Tyner, Eric Selby and Jason Sanders were arrested in Canadian County. An alert Deputy spotted a suspicious car in a rural area and pulled over the driver.
Man Electrocuted Stealing Copper Identified: Damon Schmidt, 32, Killed With 7,000 Volts of Electricity August 27, 2008 DEL CITY, Okla. – Police have identified the man electrocuted while trying to steal copper on Tuesday, officers said. Damon Schmidt, 32, of Oklahoma City, had been arrested several times since 2003, according to officials with the Oklahoma County jail. A Del City police spokesman said his office is still investigating Tuesday’s incident. Schmidt’s body was found near an electrical box at 29th Street and Sooner Road on Tuesday morning. Police said the man’s father found him and that the man had burns on his hands.
Police nab copper banditsApril 23, 2008 — McAlester News-Capital
By Jeremy Higgins, Assistant Editor
Two people were arrested and at least one will face felony charges related to the theft of a large amount of copper wire from PSO/AEP on East Electric Avenue in McAlester, according to the McAlester Police Department.
Companies fight back against rising copper theft May 17, 2011
Farms and other businesses in rural Marion County are seeing an uptick in copper theft, despite the Oregon Legislature’s amendment of the scrap-metal law last year. The law makes it harder for thieves to sell copper and other metals to recyclers.
Money, money, money in the wires….
With copper going for around $7.00US, expect to see many creative thieves try this… Copper theft has happened in the Triangle lately…here, here, here and here.
Police: Man electrocuted while attempting to steal copper wire in Carbon County Oct. 12, 2013 | WFMZ-TV 69 PALMERTON, Pa. – Police in Carbon County have released the name of the man who was electrocuted while apparently attempting to steal copper wire from poles at the old New Jersey Zinc plant in Palmerton. Police say 32-year-old Joshua Vacaro, of the 200 block of Delaware Ave. in Palmerton, was found dead Thursday afternoon at the site of the old zinc company. Police believe Vacaro, who had various tools on him, was attempting to steal copper wire.
Thieves eye Delco air conditioners September 27, 2011 | 6abc.com RADNOR, Pa. – September 27, 2011 (WPVI) – Police in Delaware County are trying to track down thieves who are making air conditioners a hot item on the black market.
Copper theft arrests made
By Heather Stauffer, Sentinel Reporter, April 3, 2008
Local officials hope arrests in what they describe as an interstate theft ring will reduce the number of copper and equipment thefts in the area.
Copper theft forces power cutoffs to 5,000 in R.I. November 19, 2009
National Grid said spent Thursday cutting off power to 5,000 customers so it could replace copper ground wire stolen from its Smithfield substation, just off Route 44. The emergency repairs affected North Providence, Johnston, Smithfield and Scituate.
Robert Weston, Dwayne Cochran, and Leonard Wolcott (Source: CCDC)
Officers arrested 61-year-old Robert Weston, 45-year-old Dwayne Cochran, and 52-year-old Leonard Wolcott around 4 a.m. They were each charged with second-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools, and malicious damage to property.
According to a police report, an officer was patrolling Wingo Way near the Masters Inn a little before 4 a.m. because of reported copper thefts at the hotel over the past few weeks. The officer said he noticed a “dust cloud” coming from the inn so he pulled into the parking lot.
Courtesy photo Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center
Anthony Williams, 39, of Columbia, SC, was electrocuted while allegedly trying to steal copper from the old Dept. of Mental Health State Hospital grounds. He was found hanging by harness about 20 feet in the air.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said the discovery happened Sunday morning on the grounds of the old State Hospital property off of Bull Street in downtown Columbia.
Anthony Williams, 39, of Columbia was found hanging by a harness strapped to a frame holding electrical transformers approximately 20 feet in the air. It appears he was attempting to steal copper from the transformers, the coroner said.
Williams’ body may have been there for a couple of days, according to Watts.
Courtesy photo Spartanburg Co. Detention Center
Kiley Pennington and Charles Lawson
Deputies: Man shocked trying to steal copper from historic mill January 9, 2012 SPARTANBURG, SC (AP/FOX Carolina) - Deputies said a man was shocked Sunday night while trying to steal copper from a historic Spartanburg mill. Spartanburg County Deputies said Kiley Pennington, 33, was with her boyfriend Charles Lawson, 38, at the textile mill at 5229 Clifton Glendale Rd. to steal copper when Lawson cut a live wire.
“The man had climbed up about 30 feet up in the air to cut some copper wire out and ended up cutting into some live wire, which ended up giving him quite a shock and ended up falling 30 feet to the ground below,” says Tony Ivey with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff: Copper Theft Suspect Loses Fingers, Skin July 21, 2011 CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. — An 18-year-old from Union, S.C., who was trying to steal copper had part of his hand blown off along with the skin of one arm, according to the Cherokee County sheriff.
Copper thefts rise in Darlington County July 1, 2010
The Darlington County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve investigated seven cases of copper theft in the past four weeks. They’ve made arrests in five of those cases and say more arrests are coming.
Courtesy photo WYFF Channel 4, Seneca, S.C.
Frankie Sheriff’s appearance changed dramatically before the 34-year-old was electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire .
Deputies: Man Electrocuted Trying To Steal Wire November 1, 2009 SENECA, S.C. — Deputies said an accident in Oconee County uncovered a copper theft ring, but it also cost a man his life on Monday. Investigators said that the suspected thief cut the wrong wire and was electrocuted. Authorities said the body of 34-year-old Frankie Sheriff was discovered at about 11:45 p.m. by two Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative workers.
Lee County officers investigating sixth copper theft in three months
April 17, 2008 LEE COUNTY, SC (WIS) – In Lee County, a copper thief was caught on tape. And authorities are trying to figure out the identity of the mystery man who stole about $3,000 in copper. “My daughter told me he looked like the Lizard Man!” says Marty Atkinson of Carolina Industrial.
House bill would crack down on state’s copper thieves
April 9, 2008 | By Ishmael Tate and Lee Higgins · The (Columbia) State COLUMBIA — A bill on its way to the S.C. House floor would crack down on the theft and illegal resale of copper and other valuable metals, a practice that police say is on the rise.
36-year-old Viola Farnsworth was electrocuted and killed while she and three men tried to steal copper wire inside the Carl Black Chevrolet building in Nashville.
Woman, stealing copper wire, dies from electrocution September 11, 2009 NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A woman was killed while trying to steal copper wire early Friday morning, according to police. The incident happened around 12 Midnight inside the former Carl Black Chevrolet building on Murfreesboro Road in south Nashville.
Police said the woman, 36-year-old Viola Farnsworth, and three males were taking the copper wire when Farnsworth touched a live wire and was electrocuted.
Courtesy photo WKRN-TV NEWS 2 NASHVILLE
Curtis Crawford, Francis Cunningham and Joseph Salisbury were arrested and charged following Viola Farnsworth’s death. The four were trying to steal copper when Farnsworth was electrocuted.
Afterwards, the men, identified as Curtis Crawford, 28, Francis Cunningham, 20, and Joseph Salisbury, 28, immediately fled the building. They were pulled over a short time later after an officer noticed a car driving without its headlights. Burglary tools and copper wire were located inside the car and police said all three men admitted to the break-in.
Farnsworth’s body was discovered a short time later.
Three arrested in Meigs copper theft DECATUR, Tenn. — Three people have been charged in the copper theft from a power station that cut power to 90 percent of the county, authorities said this afternoon. Chad Parker, of Meigs County, and Tommy Fugate, of Athens, are charged with reckless endangerment, criminal trespassing and vandalism of property valued between $10,000 and $60,000, Meigs County Detective Keith Kyle said. VEC spokesman Robert McCarty said the thieves may have damaged a transformer at the substation that would cost $200,000 to replace.
Suspected Copper Thief Found Dead Near Spring Power Substation October 24, 2012
One man is dead after Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputies say he was trying to steal copper from a power substation. Around 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, deputies were sent to South Montgomery County. Employees with Center Point received a service call to the electrical substation and when they arrived they found a dead white male. Investigators believe Harold Gene Schneider, 37, was electrocuted in the process of stealing copper wiring.
“He literally has ripped our hearts out,” Cindy Boling said.
Saturday afternoon, the couple had just returned home from shopping and was unloading their truck. The back gate was open and Lillie and the couple’s other dog, Gracie, were in the driveway with them. The couple says a Fort Worth police officer showed up and was walking toward the house. The dogs went to meet him.
“I started yelling ‘my dogs don’t bite please don’t hurt them. They’re going to come down and just greet you and I’ll grab them up and put them in the backyard,’” Boling said.
Mark caught up to Gracie but Lillie ran up on the porch where the officer was standing. They say within seconds the officer pulled out his pistol and shot Lillie in the back.
“My dog was standing there looking like I got a new friend and he turned and shot her in the back,” Mark Boling said.
The dog ran to the backyard where she died within minutes.
The officer was at the house by mistake. He was sent to 4917 Norma Street on a copper theft call. But instead, he showed up two blocks away at the Boling’s address, which is 4717.
A suspected copper thief believed to have stolen copper from a Centerpoint (TX) station in Oct. 2011. (Courtesy photo KUHF Houston)
Caught In The Act of Copper Theft November 18, 2011
Surveillance photos were released of a man suspected of stealing copper wire from a CenterPoint Energy power plant on Tomball Parkway last month. When police arrived, they discovered the fence had been cut and copper wire and parts had been stolen.
New Database Combats Texas Copper theft April 11, 2008 DALLAS, TX – Stealing copper from air conditioning units, construction sites, even highway lights is a big problem, according to Dallas police Lt. Richard Dwyer, who heads the Department’s metal theft unit.
Man Arrested For Copper Theft April 9, 2008 Longview — Michael Wayne Nickerson, 52, of Longview was arrested and charged with Theft of Wire/Cable containing 50% Aluminum, Bronze, or Copper under $20,000 which is a State Jail Felony.
Oncor Fights Back Against Copper Wire Theft
Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:21am EST DALLAS–(Business Wire)–Copper theft is a community problem that is continuing to grow. Thieves have stolen air conditioners out of churches, equipment of out schools and wiring out of streetlights. Oncor, with its miles of distribution and transmission lines, is also a target for these thieves.
Man Electrocuted in Copper Theft December 22, 2006
A Longview man was electrocuted during an apparent copper theft, in what investigators say is rapidly growing crime. It happened Thursday afternoon on Meadows lane, just off I-20 in Gregg county. Investigators say two men were trying to cut the copper from a power pole, when one of them contacted a live wire, and was electrocuted.
Police are looking for thieves who stole a bronze statue from Saratoga Springs. The statue was valued at $4,000 and depicted a young mother who was killed by a massive natural gas explosion in 2007. Courtesy photo
Thieves steal statue depicting woman killed in gas explosion November 2, 2011 SARATOGA SPRINGS – After a massive natural gas explosion killed a young wife and mother in 2007, the community rallied together. Through an Eagle Scout project funds were raised, and eventually local artist John Zebley created a bronze statue depicting the woman. But now, that statue has vanished. Police say the 18-inch statue disappeared from a stone pedestal in a Saratoga Springs subdivision sometime between Oct. 12 and 15. It was reported missing on Oct. 19, and metal thieves are likely to blame, according to Detective Bruce Champagne of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.
Bill to help prevent copper theft; recyclers say it misses the mark October 7, 2008
In the past couple of years, copper has become a favorite target for crooks, but a Utah senator is trying to get a law passed that would make scrap yards more responsible. The latest copper theft happened at a baseball field in Kearns. Whoever stole this copper really wanted it. The person had to cut into several light poles, yank the copper wire down, slice it and haul it off.
Related: HATCH, KLOBUCHAR UNVEIL COPPER THEFT PREVENTION ACT OF 2008
Chuck Carr, Ryan Towns, Callie Field & Tom Longstreth on scrap metal recycling, sales & theft
Thursday April 24, 2008
If you bring a piece of copper into a scrap metal dealer today, you’ll likely receive around $3.00 per pound. That’s up substantially from the 75cents per pound you might have received four years ago. Prices for other types of scrap metal, from aluminum to steel, are also up. But with the boom in business, comes a rising amount of theft. As a result, the Vermont Senate has passed a bill that would require scrap dealers to check identification and keep detailed sale records.
Richmond Police Department: Man killed in wreck had just fled scene of copper theft November 13, 2012
Police believe a man that was killed Saturday in a single-vehicle accident had just stolen copper from a vacant Richmond factory and fled the scene after a witness called police. James M. Ward, 40, of McKee, died at 11:17 a.m. after his car ran left the southbound lane of Interstate 75 near mile marker 84 and traveled about 200 feet down an embankment before crashing into a rocky ravine, according to the Kentucky State Police and the Madison County coroner.
Man pleads guilty to charges surrounding copper theft July 6, 2011 FRONT ROYAL — A town man pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Warren County Circuit Court after being indicted by a grand jury on three charges related to the theft of copper from the town’s electric department.
MAN ELECTROCUTED WHILE TRYING TO STEAL COPPER July 29, 2010
Charges are pending after Buchanan County authorities say they caught a man attempting to steal copper Tuesday night. They actually received a 911 call that a man was hanging from an AEP power pole in Harman, Virginia. Once they arrived, they found 52-year-old Ervin Hardin on a transformer. He had been electrocuted and is now at a burn unit in a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.
Copper Thieves Now Targeting Vacant Commercial Buildings
July 1, 2011
Copper and metal thieves have found a new target: vacant commercial buildings. The graffiti-painted buildings with the “For Lease” signs are an invitation to the bad guys, and Everett police worry it’s just the beginning.
Copper theft freezes Washington state bridge in place December 16, 2010
Copper thieves ransacked the powerhouse atop the Murray Morgan Bridge around Thanksgiving, causing between $250,000 and $300,000 in damage and dealing a heavy blow to the City of Tacoma’s effort to repair and reopen the historic structure.
Police: W.Va. man electrocuted by live power line in attempted copper theft
May 9, 2013 | The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic THURMOND, West Virginia — Police in Fayette County said Thursday that a man was electrocuted when he picked up a live power line that he had shot down in order to steal copper from it. Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said the man’s body was found Wednesday in Thurmond near Babcock State Park. He was identified Thursday as 22-year-old Dalton Newhouse of Oak Hill.
Kessler said Newhouse and an accomplice (Charles Raymond Norris, 22, of Oak Hill) planned to strip the line of its copper wiring to later sell as scrap metal. Newhouse was killed instantly when he picked up the power line, Kessler said.
Norris was later arrested and charged with Attempt to Commit a Felony, Conspiracy to Commit a Felony and Disruption of a Public Utility. (WTRF)
State Police Dig Deeper into Electrocuted Man’s Death
December 2, 2012 | WSAZ NewsChannel 3 LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) — West Virginia State Police are discovering more about the death of James David Marcum Jr. – a 28-year-old man who was electrocuted while attempting to steal copper wire.
Marcum’s body was found Saturday on a hillside near Omar off of Route 44 after he had been missing for three-and-a-half days. He was initially believed to have gone hunting.
Troopers say they believe Marcum wasn’t alone when he was electrocuted, and they’re in the process of questioning individuals who could have been with him. They also say the power lines on that hillside were targeted by others in the past.
Boone Man Electrocuted During Attempted Copper Theft Near Mine April 24, 2012
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) — A man from Boone County is dead after investigators believe he was trying to steal wire off of a utility pole near a coal mine. According to a news release, the body of Herbert Ray Price, Jr., 37, of Gordon, was found lying on a hillside near a utility pole.
What’s next? July 22, 2011
Despite the hazards, it seems like metal thieves will stop at absolutely nothing to steal copper, aluminum or other items they can sell off for money.
Steven E. Lupson II, 26, died May 16, 2011, while trying to steal copper. His widow, Felicia Lupson, and Joshua Drake were serving as lookouts while Steven stole the copper, and have been charged in his death.
Felicia Lupson was arrested back on May 26 in Logan County.
West Virginia State Troopers say she was with her husband Steven, when he was trying to steal copper from a power pole on May 16.
Felicia has been charged with grand larceny and destruction of property and conspiracy.
Joshua Drake has also been charged in the case.
State police say Drake and Felicia were serving as look outs while Steven stole the copper.
W. Va. man found electrocuted near utility pole
May 17, 2011 | The Associated Press BLAIR, W.Va. (AP) — State Police say a Charleston man apparently was trying to steal copper from a power pole in Logan County when he was electrocuted.
State Police tell WSAZ-TV that an officer investigating the theft found the body of 26-year-old Steven E. Lupson II next to a utility pole along state Route 17 in Blair.
American Electric Power: Copper theft dangerous, deadly
July 14, 2010 | News and Sentinel MARIETTA – American Electric Power is using recent deaths and the sentencing of two men in Washington County to help deter would-be copper thieves. The local case involved two Chapmanville, W.Va., men who admitted to stealing more than 14,000 feet of power line cables in the Lowell area, and disrupting electric service for several hours.
The cable cost AEP $28,162 to replace, including labor. The scrap value of the metal was about $3,000.
Four people have been killed while attempting to steal copper wire in the Columbus, Ohio-based electric utility’s service area. State police say two people were killed in southern West Virginia. The other deaths occurred near Chillicothe, Ohio, and in Harrisonburg, Va., AEP spokesman Phil Moye said.
The most recent incident occurred last week in Boone County, W.Va., state police say the body of Harold Holstein, 42, was discovered by a power company worker who had responded to an outage in the area. Another man was injured.
A Ross County man was killed June 26 while he was attempting to steal copper grounding wire from a substation near Clarksburg, Ohio, according to AEP. On June 6, a Bruno, W.Va., man was killed while attempting to take grounding wire from a pole in Logan County, W.Va.
Morris Michael Dale Goodman, 27, passed away June 6, 2010 after attempting to steal copper wires. He left behind many family members.
Morris Goodman Obituary June 6, 2010 | Logan Banner | Christian, W. Virginia
CHRISTIAN, W.Va. — Morris Michael Dale Goodman, 37, of Christian, passed away Sunday, June 6, 2010
Daniel and Jack Chapman (courtesy WSAZ)
Father & Son Electrocuted at AEP Substation March 28, 2008 PRENTER, W.Va. (WSAZ) — The Boone County Sheriff says a father and son died late Friday night after they were electrocuted inside an AEP substation. It happened at about 11:15pm in Prenter — about five miles up from Route 3.
Sheriff Miller said 22-year-old Daniel Chapman of Seth and another man went to the Hopkins Fork power substation with the intent to steal copper. Miller says the two cut a hole in the chain link fence around the substation and then tried to cut and remove a series of grounding wire that protected the facility.
According to Miller, both men came into contact with power from the substation — Chapman was electrocuted and the man who was with him was burned, but was able to escape and go get help.
Once he was notified of the incident, Daniel Chapman’s father, Jack Chapman, 48, went to the facility and tried to free his son. Witnesses tell police that when Jack was unable to free Daniel, his frustration led him to also come in contact with live power cables. Both died at the scene.
Copper Theft Arrests WEAU-TV 13 – Eau Claire, WI
Deputies say employees at a scrap metal shop helped catch two men who are now charged with stealing copper wire from the railroad.
2 Men Accused of Copper Theft in Natrona County
KULR8 – Dec. 20, 2010 Casper, Wyo. (AP) — Natrona County authorities say two men are accused of trying to steal several thousand dollars worth of copper wire from a Mills company.
Copper theft ring awaiting jail time NetworkWorld.com Community
Copper theft is an epidemic crime across the nation and the world. Police in some states have reported that thieves are now targeting the growing amounts of empty, foreclosed houses to steal copper wiring. Of course, not all criminals are the brightest bulbs; some have been killed or maimed pulling out live wires. I reported last year that there was a growing movement by telecommunications vendors to offer rewards leading to the arrest of copper thieves.
Copper Theft Threatens U.S. Critical Infrastructure
Copper thieves are threatening US critical infrastructure by targeting electrical sub-stations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads, water wells, construction sites, and vacant homes for lucrative profits. The theft of copper from these targets disrupts the flow of electricity, telecommunications, transportation, water supply, heating, and security and emergency services and presents a risk to both public safety and national security.
A dead copper wire theft suspect is carried away from the crime scene. Courtesy photo Jabulisa Dlamini, Times of Swaziland
Copper wire thief electrocuted!
Sept. 21, 2012 | Times of Swaziland MANZINI – A man was electrocuted while attempting to steal a copper wire from an electricity pole at Woodmasters early yesterday morning.
Residents of Woodmasters are said to have encountered a blackout at around 3am yesterday and when they called the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) faults line, the company’semployees who were on call rushed to check what might have caused. When the employees arrived at scene they discovered a body of man believed to be in his mid thirties lying near the powerline pole.
Vandalising electrical infrastructure
June 19, 2011 | Oman Daily Observer
Generally speaking, the Sultanate of Oman has had hardly any occurrences of vandalism on public property. The recent occurrences of damage to electrical installations within the capital area and in other regions have been due to groups of thieves seeking to remove copper wiring and coils that they then sell to scrap dealers. In such acts of vandalism, the thieves not only damage the installations, but also risk serious injury or fatality to themselves and to unsuspecting members of the public. Their criminal acts can and has led to power outages, electrical fluctuations and even explosions.
Australia’s new crime wave March 6, 2008 | The Scone Advocate
After working on an empty house he is preparing to sell, 80 year-old Earl Thelander goes home to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Steven Shepel, electrocuted (courtesy globalnews.ca)
Electrocution deemed accidental Oct. 10, 2013 | Globalnews.ca KELOWNA — A coroner’s investigation has determined the death of a copper thief was accidental and there are no suggestions to prevent further such incidents.
In April 2012, a badly injured Steven Ray Brodie Shepel, 35, was found in a remote, wooded area of Kelowna. Shepel had been removing copper ground wires from hydro poles when one of the wires came in close contact to the 138,000 volt power line.
Copper thief sentenced to 15 years in security guard killing
May 29, 2013 | Privateofficernews.com Montreal Canada – A man who killed a security guard while stealing copper near Thetford Mines was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday. Eddy Rivest received the sentence after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter after killing Roland Hardy at a mine near Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine.
Hardy’s colleagues found him dead on July 23, 2010 at the abandoned Normandy asbestos mine on Vimy Rd. in the Chaudière-Appalaches region of Quebec. Rivest, after time served, will see his sentence end in 13 years and eight months. He will no longer have the right to own a firearm for the rest of his life.
Courtesy photo Radio-Canada
Roland Hardy was on duty at the Normandie mine in July 2010 when he was killed. Investigators believe Hardy surprised thieves looking to steal copper from the mine.
Arrest made in mine guard killing February 8, 2012 | CBCNews, Montreal
A 44-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the 2010 slaying of a mine guard. The victim, Roland Hardy, 51, was on duty at the Normandie mine in Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine on the evening of July 23.
Charges Laid in $1 Million Copper Theft
June 15, 2011 | Toronto Sun
A group of Hamilton-area men face a slew of charges for allegedly stealing about $1 million in copper from dozens of hydro facilities in Southern Ontario.
Head of Copper Thieves Admits to Killing Old Man in Southern Lebanon March 7, 2013 | Naharnet.com
The Syrian head of a gang that steals copper wires from electricity cables in southern Lebanon was arrested and admitted to killing an old man in the town of Qana, the state-run National News Agency reported Thursday. NNA said that the Syrian suspect Bassel al-Ahmed admitted to killing Moussa Badreddine in his shop along with several other suspects while robbing him. Badreddine, 81, was found dead in his shop in August last year.
One day after I blogged about copper theft, some jokers decided that they needed some steel bolts and stole some from a 132kV power transmission tower (or “Pylons” as we Malaysians call them). This brought one of the towers down resulting in a loss of electrical power to 90% of the areas in Sabah. Imagine nearly a whole State brought to a standstill by a single act of theft!
Team is on track to halt copper theft
October 31, 2008
A SPECIAL police squad has been formed to target thieves responsible for a spate of copper cable thefts from Scotland’s railway lines. British Transport Police (BTP) drafted in their most experienced officers to investigate a huge rise in crimes involving valuable metals.
Courtesy photo Sowetan Live
CHAOS: The body of an unidentified man is removed from the Roodepoort substation after the alleged cable thief was electrocuted. The entire Roodepoort area was left without power. PHOTO: BAFANA MAHLANGU.
Gautrain fails to live up to promises September 8, 2011
Twice in one week last month the train ground to a halt because cable thieves managed to make off with copper cables supplying the train.
Copperheads find new task team ‘incompetent’
While a private security company which took over Telkom’s copper cable theft probes last month from specialised investigators in Cape Town said it was handling the job “very well”, the city said it was “impossible” to work with the “incompetent” security guards.
Copper market drives theft
Johannesburg, 17 August 2007 – The rate of cable theft is on the rise again, driven by a lucrative reprocessing market both locally and internationally, says Telkom.
Jobs are safe, says Telkom
Gauteng, South Africa
Some of the services Royal Securities will provide include proactively alarming critical cable routes, using armed guards, deploying wireless alternatives to copper, burying cables where possible, working with Business Against Crime, and engaging government in order to facilitate more solutions to the copper theft problem.
Cable thief who acted out shock killed by 8,000 volts March 16, 2012 | Yorkshire Post
A TEENAGE boy who was trying to steal copper cable pretended he was being electrocuted just moments before it happened for real, killing him instantly, as his horrified friends watched. Ryan Woolams, 16, “paid the ultimate price” when he was hit by an electric shock while trying to steal cable from an electricity sub-station at Skelton Grange in Stourton, Leeds, an inquest heard.
Video: Bungalow destroyed as metal thieves cause gas explosion March 15, 2012 | The Evening Telegraph
Tuesday, 9.35am: Metal thieves are responsible for a gas explosion which destroyed a bungalow near Wisbech in the early hours of on Monday morning (12 March). The explosion in the empty bungalow on St Leonard’s Road, Leverington, near Wisbech, ripped the front and roof off the property when a gas leak ignited at around 1.05am. The bungalow was being renovated, and thieves broke in over the weekend to steal the piping, which caused the leak.
Brassed off: Band treasurer Neil Palmer with the remains of his stolen trumpet
Thief killed trying to steal copper wire from pylon November 15, 2011
A coroner hit out at the scourge of metal theft after a man was killed when an aluminium ladder placed against a pylon touched a live electricity cable. Darren Wayne Law, 42, was hit by a 6,600-volt electrical surge and died later in hospital.
Stealing the roof of the house of God October 29, 2011
Thieves completely strip the roof off All Saints, Woodchurch, a 14th-century church in a picture-postcard village in rural East Kent. The day before, horses at a riding school in Lancashire bolted after a scrap metal gang stole the stable doors. The day before that, thieves stole 64 sq ft of lead from the flat roof at Bishop’s Palace in Lincoln, one of the most significant medieval ecclesiastical ruins in England. Last Monday they stole a 4ft-high statue of a Second World War soldier worth £10,000 from a war memorial in Tidworth, Wilts.
Courtesy photo Daily Mail
Burnt to death: Callous copper cable thieves cut down a pylon leaving live wires exposed before using a six month old foal as a ‘tester’ to check if electricity was still moving through the line.
Foal electrocuted by heartless cable thieves who tested live wires on it October 8, 2011
Copper cable thieves who cut down a pylon leaving live wires exposed may have used a foal as a ‘tester’ to check if electricity was still moving through the line. The burnt remains of the six-month old animal were discovered in its field near Sittingbourne, Kent the next day by its owner who is in his eighties. After the incident, around 3,000 homes were plunged into darkness as the criminals took stole the copper cabling cutting the electricity supply.
Thief risked life stealing power cable September 12, 2011
A FOOLHARDY thief could have been killed after stealing copper wire from an 11,000 volt electricity pole in Sedlescombe. Sometime on August 18, some copper earthing wire was taken from the pole in Beech Farm Road.
Courtesy photo Daily Mail Reporter
Jason (left) and John Tusting left their friend to die as they ran from a substation where they had stolen copper cable. The brothers were sentenced to four years in jail.
James Smith, 28, suffered a fatal shock inside an electricity substation. After friends abandoned him, his body lay undiscovered in a railway substation in southeast London for more than two hours after his death.
August 15, 2011
Two brothers who left their friend to die when he was electrocuted as they stole copper cable, have been jailed for four years. John and Jason Tusting sold the metal for £340 within hours of father-of-two James Smith, 28, suffering a fatal shock inside an electricity substation. His body lay undiscovered in a railway substation near Sydenham Railway Station, in southeast London, for more than two hours after his death on December 4 last year.
James Sorby, 22, was badly burnt when he tried to steal copper cabling from an electricity sub-station in a disused post office sorting room.
Copper cable theft surges 168 % in last year
June 9, 2011 | Wales Times
Wales is experiencing a surge in copper cable theft, with thieves targeting railway lines, electricity cables and even theme parks. But according to historian Dr Chris Evans, of the University of Glamorgan, cable theft is no new trend.
Electrocuted cable thief says: Learn from my mistakes
June 8, 2011 | Yorkshire Post
A man who suffered horrific injuries when he was hit by a 22,000 volt electric shock has warned others of the dangers of stealing copper cabling. James Sorby, 22, was so badly burnt his daughter was unable to recognise his face after he was injured when he tried to steal cabling from an electricity sub-station in a disused post office sorting room.
Don’t be so stupid GazetteLive – Middlesbrough,UK
Earlier this month, CE Electric UK announced that it had invested £2m on improving security at substations as a response to the rising rate of copper theft.