Southern Pine Electric hit by rash of copper thefts - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Southern Pine Electric hit by rash of copper thefts

Photo provided by Southern Pine Electric Power Association Photo provided by Southern Pine Electric Power Association
SMITH COUNTY, MS (WDAM) -

The Southern Pine Electric Power Association has seen a spike in copper wire thefts from power poles recently.

More than 100 poles in Smith, Scott, and Covington County have been affected in the last week. The thieves are targeting the copper ground wire that runs  the length of the pole. These wires are vital in keeping electrical systems safe and secure in the event of a lightening strike.

The value of the copper is not that much, but it costs the association $200 per hour to replace it.

A spokesperson for the association says when caught the thieves will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

"When you start messing with transmission and generation you are getting into federal acts because you are disturbing the grid," said Larry Blakeney, Safety and Compliance Specialist, Southern Pine Electric Power Association. "It's been turned over to homeland security and they are doing an intensive investigation on it."

Blakeney says two arrests have been made in Scott County in the past week. He asks if anyone witnesses someone stealing copper from the poles to get a description and contact law enforcement.

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