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Copper ground wire stolen from REA poles

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Thieves stole copper from power poles belonging to the Runestone Electric Association (REA).

On Monday, March 31, an REA lineman conducting routine line patrol work discovered that 39 power poles north of Cyrus had been vandalized. Vandals had cut the copper ground wire off at the ground up to as far as they could reach without a ladder.

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It is not known exactly when the theft occurred. The incident is under investigation by the Stevens County Sherriff’s Office.

“Copper theft is a serious problem across the country, costing electric utilities thousands of dollars each year. Although the value of the copper that was taken near Cyrus is minimal, it is very concerning that someone would walk up to a power pole and cut off the wire,” said REA CEO Rick Banke, “The ground wire is necessary to safely operate the electrical system. Without ground wires, life threatening voltage may appear on the cut ends, causing a dangerous situation for the person vandalizing the pole, utility workers and the general public.

“We ask that if you see anything unusual, or anyone other than utility personnel or contractors around electrical equipment, substations, or utility poles, call 911 immediately,” Banke added. “Everyone can help prevent copper theft by being alert to suspicious activity and reporting it.”

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