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Copper thefts on the rise; PPL reporting more thefts recently

Updated: Tuesday, September 17 2013, 06:27 PM CDT
Reported by: Jesse Knutson

HARRISBURG -- With the price of copper at $3.20 per pound in a recovering economy, it’s no surprise that the amount of copper thefts has increased. In the past year, PPL says it has had tens of thousands of dollars worth of copper stolen from its substations across the state. In response, they have decided to offer a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of someone who has stolen copper from PPL.

“We’ve always had copper thefts throughout our system, it just seems that it has increased dramatically over the past year or so,” Ryan Jones, manager of engineering at PPL, said. Jones oversees PPL substations across the state, and he hopes that offering this reward will help solve the problem.

“This is an attempt to reduce the number of copper thefts that we’re experiencing here at PPL,” he added.

The copper at PPL facilities is largely used to ground electricity, and if the copper is removed, it increases the chance of someone getting electrocuted.
“Not only is it dangerous for the copper thieves themselves,” Jones explained, “it also puts our PPL workers and contractors at risk and has the potential to cause outages for our customers.”

Other groups across the Susquehanna Valley have had copper stolen from them as well. First Lutheran Church in Carlisle reported to police that six of its copper rain gutters were stolen sometime in the last week.

“It’s pretty sad that they would steal, and steal from a church,” Tate Carr, administrator for First Lutheran Church, said.

The amount of copper stolen from the church totals about $1,000, and it says this isn’t the first time it has had copper stolen from them. The church hopes that the increased awareness of the problem will stop these thefts from happening.

“The custodian here immediately called the local scrap yard,” Carr said. “They already had a program in place to immediately put alerts out to what was taken and how much. That tells you that there’s obviously a problem.”

If you see any suspicious activity or know anyone who has stolen copper, you’re asked to call your local police. If that tip leads to the arrest and conviction of someone who stole copper from PPL, the company will contact you directly about the reward.
Copper thefts on the rise; PPL reporting more thefts recently


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