Copper thieves target the same area

WILLIAMSBURG, KY. (WYMT) - It’s a common sight on Whitley County roads…the telephone repair man.

“As soon as AT&T fixes it, 2 days later it’s gone again,” said Melinda Moses of her phone service.

She lives on Ky. 92 and didn’t have any service Wednesday. That’s because police say thieves are cutting down the telephone wire because it’s made out of copper.

“200 feet is about 150 to 200 pounds of copper,” said Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, who was among several police officers out investigating the thefts Wednesday.

Tuesday night dozens of people lost their phone service.

“In the last 4 weeks, (it's happened) 7, 8, 10 this area,” said Chief Bird, describing the crimes affecting just about everyone with a telephone on Ky. 92 west of Williamsburg to the McCreary County line.

What is doubly frustrating to people is that much of the area also doesn’t have good cell phone service, meaning just making a call often requires a 10 minute trip to town.

Moses says no phone spells problems for her husband who depend on phone calls for his job.

“He’s a field supervisor for a natural gas company. If there is a leak in your area, the gas is dangerous, he has to be able to be contacted,” she said. Moses also says she’s concerned about relatives with health problems where a 911 call could be the difference in life and death.

Chief Bird says he believes the thieves are selling the copper wire at some scrap yards, which are supposed to be abiding by a new state law aimed at restricting illegal sales.

“You’ve got to have a legitimate scrap yard, someone who is going to abide by the law; there’s a lot of scrap yards who do not do that,” said Chief Bird.

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