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Posts Tagged ‘theft’

Theives Stealing Copper from Electrical Equipment

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

A potentially deadly gas leak at a home on Glen Park Ave. is traced back to a series of break-and-enters in 13 Division. The thieves’ target? Copper pipes.

Brass and copper plumbing supplies valued at $600,000 are stolen from a business near Dixon Rd. and Highway 27. Eavestroughs made of copper are no sooner installed than they are swiped from homes.

The metal is by no means easy to steal, but that isn’t stopping thieves who recognize its rising value. With copper closing at a record US$4.63/lb. Monday, Toronto Police are on alert that there could be an increase in daring — and dangerous — robberies.

“People are stealing copper for the value of it. It is a concern,” said Toronto Police Const. Tony Vella. “We’ve had a few occurrences — one that could have been deadly.”

Toronto Police recently issued a warning after a “disproportionate number” of break-ins in Glen Park in northwest Toronto. After the copper pipes were cut in a vacant luxury home, Enbridge measured gas levels of more than 40 per cent inside. They caught the leak before it caused an explosion.

Thieves are so brazen that they will even steal copper from live transformer stations. Hydro One loses about $1 million a year from stolen copper, said Gregory Taylor, head of copper theft prevention.

In Feb. 2009, a 38-year-old Windsor man was electrocuted to death trying to steal copper from a Hydro One station.

The Bermondsey transformer station in Scarborough has been stripped of copper three times in the past five years — costing Hydro One $24,000 each time, Taylor said.

When thieves disrupt the copper grounding wires at transformer stations, they not only put their own lives in danger but also those of Hydro One workers who might not realize the station has been tampered with, Taylor added.

“It’s the public safety aspect of this that really concerns us,” Taylor said.

Since Taylor was assigned to copper theft in 2008, Hydro One has identified 45 transformer stations most targeted for break-ins, beefed up patrols and installed barbed-wire fences.

Meanwhile, contractors who work with copper said theft of the pricey metal is an ongoing problem.

Scraps of copper were stolen from the construction site at Old City Hall during the five-year restoration project, said Cameron Forbes, vice president of the contracting firm Heather & Little Limited.

Contractors are sometimes hired specifically to replace stolen copper, said Tom Shreeve, a manager at the Toronto-based Semple Gooder Roofing Corporation.

“We’ve undertaken repairs to replace copper that’s gone missing on a number of different types of buildings,” Shreeve said.

Triple M Metal in Scarborough, for one, pays up to $3.92/lb. for copper scraps. Scrapyards that buy and sell copper can also fall victim to thieves, said Len Shaw, executive director of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI).

“You’ve got piles of it sitting in your yard. Literally, somebody could jump over the fence, throw it into his pickup truck, drive it into the scrap yard the next day and sell it back to the guy and he wouldn’t know,” Shaw said. “We’re very concerned about this.”

CARI helped develop a website where the North American scrap recycling industry can post reports of stolen materials. But Shaw admits there are challenges to tracking stolen copper.

“One piece of copper tubing is the same as another piece of copper tubing,” he said. “There is no way, unless it’s specifically marked, to determine where that piece of material came from. … Quite often material is stolen and then it’s deformed into pieces, squashed and things like that, so it doesn’t even look like what it was to begin with.”

Story via TheStar.com

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PA Man Electrocuted Climbing Pole to Steal Copper Wire

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

PALMERTON, Pa. — A Bethlehem man was found dead after police said he was climbing a power pole and came in contact with a live wire.

It happened just before midnight Saturday on the property of Horsehead Industries in Palmerton.

Police said they received reports of a man injured while attempting to cut copper wire from a pole.

When they arrived on scene, they found the body of 30-year-old Jojo M. Sullivan of Bethlehem.

The Carbon County Coroner said Sullivan died from a fatal electric shock, and pronounced him dead at the scene.

Palmerton Police continue to investigate the incident.

Story via WFMZ.com

NC Teen Electrocuted Trying to Steal Copper from Substation

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment
LAURINBURG, NC – A Laurinburg teenager was electrocuted while trying to steal copper, officials said.

Jeffery Caleb Frederick, Jr., 18, of Park Drive, received a fatal electric shock while breaking into a power substation near Wagram on Friday, according to Investigator Tina Strickland.

Two of his friends, 20-year-old Howard Worriax, Jr. and 47-year-old Barry Locklear, both of McGirt’s Bridge Road, Maxton, were helping Frederick in the theft attempt, Strickland said.

After Frederick received the high-voltage shock, Worriax and Locklear drug him to Frederick’s Toyota Camry and drove him to the intersection of McGirt’s Bridge Road and Lee’s Mill Road, Strickland said. They placed Frederick in the driver’s seat and walked a mile to their home.

Strickland said the pair never attempted to find medical aid for the 18-year-old and failed to contact authorities.

The pair are charged with concealing or failing to report a death, according to a sheriff’s report.

Bond was set at $20,000 for Locklear, while a bond had not been set by press time for Worriax, according to Strickland.

Strickland said had they called EMS, the pair would only face misdemeanor charges of larceny and trespassing instead of a felony.

She added that the property’s owner could still press charges in the theft.

Sheriff Shep Jones said this adds to a string of unsuccessful attempts at stealing wiring.

“We’ve made several arrests in the past couple of weeks for the theft of copper wire,” he said.

Jones said it was “unfortunate” that someone lost their life while trying to harvest the metal from a live substation.

“Hopefully people can learn from this, that this is not a wise thing to do

and that it’s just not worth it to do something like this.”

He also said he did not know why

“I don’t know if it was panic on their part or what, but unfortunately they did not report it and by not reporting it, they are charged with a felony,” he said.

Jones thought it tragic that a teen lost his life.

“Our prayers go out to the family,” he said.

Lockelar has had more than two dozen prior convictions for charges including breaking and entering, larceny, and receiving stolen goods

Read more: The Laurinburg Exchange – Deputy Teen electrocuted in theft attempt

Man Charged for Copper Theft That Lead to Friend’s Electrocution

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

RAEFORD, NC – A man is accused of lying to Hoke County lawmen about being with a friend who was electrocuted in August as the two tried to steal copper from a power substation.

Jonathan Tyler Overton, 20, of the 9300 block of Calloway Road in Aberdeen, was charged Tuesday with damaging wires and other fixtures of a telephone, telegraph or electric power company and obstructing justice by filing a false police report, larceny and possessing stolen property.

The incident happened Aug. 14, according to a release from the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office.

William Joshua Reavis, 23, of the 9400 block of Calloway Road in Aberdeen, was found dead at a Lumbee River Electric Membership Corp. substation on North Horace Walters Road, Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said.

At the time, investigators suspected that Reavis was electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire, Peterkin said.

Investigators found that a lock and chain on the high fence around the business had been cut, Peterkin said.

They also said they believed someone else was involved, Peterkin said.

Overton was at the substation when lawmen arrived, Peterkin said, but denied having anything to do with the theft of copper.

Overton later admitted that after Reavis was electrocuted, he removed the copper wiring and cutters that were inside the fence and hid them in tall grass where they were later found, Peterkin said.

Overton’s bail was set at $25,000.

Story via FayObserver.com