Hit Hard By Copper Wire Thieves, PPL Fights Back

A red/cyan anaglyph of a reel of tinned copper...

A red/cyan anaglyph of a reel of tinned copper 24swg wire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With its substations increasingly targeted by copper thieves, PPL is upping security and putting scrap dealers who may receive the stolen wiring on alert.

The utility has suffered about two dozen copper wire thefts throughout its Pennsylvania service area since the start of the year.  The utility’s Lancaster and northeast Pennsylvania service areas have been hit especially hard.

Last month, according to media reports, thieves broke into a Wilkes-Barre area substation just after midnight and stole more than 250 feet of copper wire used to ground the substation.  Scrap yards pay about $3 a pound for copper wire, according to Internet scrap pricing websites.

It’s a problem being faced by utilities across the country.  The nationwide spike in copper thefts dates to about 2008 when prices hit $4 a pound, topping out at $4.50 in 2011, according to the American Public Power Association‘s magazine, Public Power.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-pa-ppl-copper-thefts-20130606,0,2376611.story

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Cumru Township Police Probe Major Copper Theft

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Wouldn’t it be easier to just get an honest job?  Crime doesn’t pay!

Cumru Township police are searching for a sophisticated burglar or burglars who stole several thousand dollars’ worth of copper wire from an industrial site in what officials are calling one of the biggest copper thefts in recent memory.

Police said Tuesday that between March 27 and Saturday someone broke into the former Northeast Building Systems, 5 E. Pointe Drive, which is undergoing renovations and had been unoccupied for the previous two weeks. The building’s alarm system was temporarily offline because of the renovations.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=467575

Police: $25K In Copper Has Been Stolen From Former Bethlehem Steel Headquarters

A man charged with six burglaries in Bethlehem’s Martin Tower told investigators he was only “exploring” the vacant building, but he was in fact stealing copper, police say.

Repeated thefts of copper from the former headquarters of Bethlehem Steel led to the installation of video and audio recording devices throughout the 21-story building, court records state.

Investigators said those recordings show Erik Michael Hotton, 27, in the building stealing copper, according to an arrest affidavit.  Police say an estimated $25,000 worth of copper has been stolen over the past six weeks.

Hotton, of 927 Tilghman St. in Allentown, is charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, theft and receiving stolen property.  He was sent to Lehigh County Prison under $75,000 bail.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-c-bethlehem-copper-thefts-martin-towners-20121127,0,760997.story

More Copper Thefts Reported In The Midstate

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Copper remains a tempting target among thieves in the midstate.

Today state police in Lykens reported the theft of an unknown amount of copper from the Lykens Borough Pump Station at Pottsville and Market streets in Wiconisco Township. Police said the theft occurred overnight Sunday July 22 into Monday July 23. Brass items were also taken.

Police in North Middleton Township last week reported that more than $3,000 worth of copper was taken from a Comcast storage building on Newville Road. That case remains unsolved, township police said.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/07/more_copper_thefts_reported_in.html

Cops: Theft Of Scrap Metal Becoming An Epidemic

Cops: Theft of scrap metal becoming an epidemic

The cases make the news with frequency.

Last month, a thief stole copper piping from a Moosic Street home owned by the wife of the late former Scranton Police Chief James Klee.

There are houses that have flooded when thieves tore out copper piping. A man whose electrocuted body was found under a utility pole in Wright Twp. was killed trying to steal aluminum from power lines.

In November, Dunmore police arrested a Scranton man who twice broke into a PPL Electric Utilities plant on Larch Street to steal copper wire.

Police say that scrap-metal thefts have become an “epidemic” that is hard to fight.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/cops-theft-of-scrap-metal-becoming-an-epidemic-1.1308108#ixzz1tXMxrKVO

Yet Another Copper Thief – Caught Stealing From Amtrak

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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WEST CHESTER, PA — A father of four who struggles with a heroin addiction told a Common Pleas Court judge that he planned to pay back thousands of dollars he owes Amtrak for stealing copper wire from the railroad’s Philadelphia to Harrisburg line, but he did not say how.

William James Stauffer, 29, of Honey Brook pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief for the December 2010 theft about 800 pounds of copper electrical wire. In addition to a prison term of six to 23 months in Chester County prison and three years of probation, he was ordered to pay $28,650 to the railroad for the cost of the wire and the considerable disruption its loss caused operations along the line.

“As soon as I get back home, I’d like to get back to work,” Stauffer told Jude William Mahon, who accepted the plea agreement between the prosecution and Stauffer’s attorney. “I want to give it 100 percent to pay my restitution, and to keep my nose clean.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/articles/2012/01/23/news/srv0000016938238.txt?viewmode=fullstory

Copper Thieves Getting More Brazen, Causing Major Damage

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Image via Wikipedia

State police said someone broke into a Hanover Township, Lehigh County, youth treatment facility and pulled security cameras off the walls, stole copper pipes and caused significant flooding inside.

The burglary happened sometime between Dec. 1 and Friday, according to the news release. State police said the flooding damage and stolen property is estimated at $20,000.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-east-allen-copper-theft-public-welfare-20120110,0,6064875.story

More Copper Thieves In Scranton

Locator map for Scranton, Pennsylvania, United...

Image via Wikipedia

There is no substitute for hard work and common sense.  Some people try to take the easy way out by resorting to crime for a big payday.

Two men were apprehended by Scranton police after burglarizing several homes in the Hill Section of the city.  Police could see copper sticking out of a backpack in the car and were obtaining a search warrant.  The two men tried to elude police on foot but were captured in short order.

Two homes were burglarized and a third had the front door kicked in but the perpetrators left the scene before taking anything.

Those Crazy Copper Thieves Are Back!

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lebanon County

Image via Wikipedia

Maybe the gang in Fayette County has moved east in their quest for more copper?  A Lebanon County cell tower was vandalized and six copper plates valued at $75 each were stolen.  The tower is fenced in and thieves cut the lock to gain entrance.  The tower is shared by Verizon, T-Mobile, Nextel and AT&T.  And we wonder why prices keep going up!  The total damage estimate was $3,000!

Anyone with information is asked to call the Cornwall police at (717) 274-2071.