Copper Theft Rising Steadily In Spokane County And Across Americ - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Copper Theft Rising Steadily In Spokane County And Across America

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Seven rolls of copper wire were stolen overnight from a construction site on the Spokane Falls Community College campus. This incident is just the latest in a major increase in copper theft. It will cost the construction company more than $2600 and that's just for the wire.

They also took other items off the site by breaking a lock. It happened next to the administration building on campus. They cut the chain to the surrounding fence and took a plasma cutter valued at around a thousand dollars, as well as some copper fitting for the pipe. But this company is surely not alone with thefts. Avista has had 92 known incidents and it has cost them a whole lot of cash.

"In the past two years Avista's had almost $400,000 in additional costs related directly to copper theft," Avista Communications Manager Debbie Simock said. "That's the cost of replacing the wire, the cost of the theft and that's the cost of the wire as well."

They've placed a rod on the top of the wires to make it more difficult to steal copper, but the biggest issue is that when copper is stolen resources are taken away, including financial resources and manpower hours.

The manpower hours come in when employees have to work to replace the stolen wire. It's important to replace it as quickly as possible because it becomes a safety issue. People that do this take the wire that grounds the system and someone could be injured or killed coming into contact with live power lines.

These thieves are not just taking it off lines, poles and construction sites; they are going into substations as well. They call that the most dangerous place to be. Additionally, because of the thieves actions it could affect customers with power outages.

Copper theft is not unique to Avista and the construction site by the campus, it is a growing problem across the country. Avista has had 92 known incidents in the two years alone.

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