Rocky Mountain Power Copper Theft $5,000 Reward to Catch San Juan Thieves
SALT LAKE CITY — Rocky Mountain Power is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons who stole copper at a substation in La Sal, Utah.
The theft on December 28 caused 988 residents in the La Sal and Moab area to lose power for more than 4 hours.
“People who try to steal copper from high voltage equipment put themselves and others in danger,” said Joseph Krempasky, Rocky Mountain Power Substations Manager. “The damage is expensive to repair and it is extremely problematic for those who lose their power in the middle of the winter.”
Someone cut through a fence and removed approximately 100 feet of copper wiring at the substation. Crews had to shut down the substation to prevent more damage, repair equipment and to avoid the risk of being injured.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that rising copper prices are leading to more substation copper theft across the country. The consequences for stealing copper are steep. Here are a few examples:
November 21, 2016, a man received significant, life threatening injuries while trying to steal copper while climbing a power pole near a Pacific Power substation in Sweetwater, Oregon.
September 2, 2016, a suspected copper thief drowned in a river while trying to elude law enforcement authorities in Jasper County, Georgia.
November 25, 2015, a man was electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire from the tops of power poles in Jefferson County, Georgia.
April 12, 2015, a man was killed after being electrocuted while attempting to steal copper wiring from an unfinished subdivision.
Damaging the electric system can cause outages and puts crews at risk as they go about their work on the local power grid. The repairs also put additional cost pressures on Rocky Mountain Power as it works to minimize any future rate increases. Working with law enforcement officials, Rocky Mountain Power asks the public to report any information related to these crimes.
If residents see any suspicious activity around power lines or electric equipment, do not confront these individuals, but dial 9-1-1. If anyone has knowledge of the La Sal incident, please contact the San Juan Sheriff’s Office at 435-587-2237.
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