Copper Thieves Hit Towers Even as Copper Price Takes a Hit
- October 29, 2013
Copper theft continues to plague cell tower sites. The costs to carriers range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per incident, and ground wires and bars are the most frequent target of thieves. Oddly enough, these thefts persist even as the price of copper drops nearly 10 percent, in the face of a worldwide glut.
Copper prices are projected to further drop in 2014 as the surplus reaches a 13-year high in tonnage, according to data from Barclays and the International Copper Study Group in Lisbon, as reported by Bloomberg News. Meanwhile, copper thieves still ply their trade. Here are some of the recent incidents:
- Thieves stole $3,000 in copper plates and ground wire from a cell tower in Williams Township, Penn., state police reported on Oct. 11. Entry was made by breaching a gap in the fence behind the tower. Both AT&T and Verizon have antennas on the structure.
- A copper theft at a Verizon cellular tower was discovered by an employee on Oct. 16, in Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, N.J. Four copper ground wires, two 6 feet in length and two 15 feet in length were cut and removed sometime between Sept. 9 and Oct. 15. The copper is valued at $800.
- Another Verizon Wireless cellular tower was found with copper missing on Oct. 24 in Parsippany-Troy Hills. A copper ground bar and 5 ground cables, totaling a value of $1200 were stolen between Sept. 23 and Oct. 23. There were no signs of forced entry into the site.
- Three people were arrested, Oct. 27, in Clarksburg, W.Va., and charged with 21 felony counts relating to copper theft from various cell towers.
- Copper stolen from a cell tower in Spokane Valley, Wash., will cost $17,500 to replace, according to the Spokesman-Review. The theft from the site, which hosts equipment from AT&T, Nextel and Cricket, was discovered in mid-September. At least one of the grounding bars was stamped with a “Do Not Recycle” notice.