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Electric Company Offers Reward For Copper Theft Information

The sheriff's department is teaming up with American Electric in Pikeville to get the word out and crackdown on copper thefts.

People are going to start seeing signs just like this one going up around eastern Kentucky offering a cash reward for information leading to an arrest for copper theft, but this one says 2,500 and it's wrong.

Officials decided to double it to five thousand dollars hoping more money will get people talking.

Despite Warning and Keep Out signs, officials say people just keep going into power stations.

“It's very dangerous,” Sheriff Charles “Fuzzy” Keesee said.

Officers say people are risking it to make a buck; they steal the copper to sell it.

“They think they know what they're doing by opening up the neutral and it's only a matter of time before we have somebody killed,” Bob Shurtleff said.

Officers say several in eastern Kentucky have already died stealing copper from wires, but Shurtleff worries his own employees could be next.

He says after the copper is taken, electricity can flow into the fences around the station, and then employees could be electrocuted when they touch it.

“It puts our people in harm's way and that is something we're desperately trying to correct,” Shurtleff said.

They're offering a reward to anyone who has information leading to an arrest and conviction of someone stealing copper from their property.

“It's the only way we can get the word out and make an incentive to the public,” Shurtleff said.

“I think it's going to be helpful to us,” Sheriff Keesee said.

Sheriff Charles “Fuzzy” Keesee says they haven't had a lot of luck catching copper thieves and he believes this cash offer may give them some leads.

But both say the main reason for the money isn't about catching thieves, but rather saving lives.

This cash reward isn't just offered in Pike County, power company officials say anyone turning in a copper thief at any of their stations across eastern Kentucky can get the money.

To report copper theft, power company officials ask that you contact your local police or sheriff's office.


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