Copper Theft Could Cost Lives

By: Jon Sonnheim Email
By: Jon Sonnheim Email

It's knocked out internet connections, phone lines and it could be putting peoples' lives in danger.

Police say copper wiring thefts have been a constant problem in recent years.

Police say three Perry County transmitters, including one of ours here at WYMT, were burglarized this past weekend, with thieves taking pounds of copper wiring.

It was the theft of copper at a transmitter site used by emergency workers, that has this burglary turning into a more serious crime.

For the second time in less than a week attempts to steal copper have resulted in more than just inconveniences for some Perry County residents.

After transmitter sites for WYMT, KET, and emergency workers like 9-1-1, and the sheriff's and fire department were the targets of theft.

"It's pretty regular, they'll take telephone cables, basically anything that they can get their hands on that has copper in it," Trooper Jennifer Sandlin said.

Police attribute the increase in burglaries to high copper prices with some recycling centers buying the metal for as much as three dollars a pound.

But it's dangers such as electrocution facing thieves and the consequences of their actions to the general public that are causing the most concern.

"It could have knocked out 911 system for a day or two, knocked out your television station and KET," Trooper sandlin said.

"When you lose communication to your emergency services, people's lives can be put in danger," Perry County Sheriff Pat Wooton said.

"We were able to manage this weekend fairly well, but who knows next time," Trooper Sandlin said.

Police tell WYMT that thieves could face federal charges, by disrupting emergency operations.

Including involvement by the FBI, who take some of these actions as a threat to homeland security.

So copper theft certainly not something to be taken lightly.


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