Police blotters for copper thefts from cell sites and other communications have been full lately, which can be blamed in part on both the price of copper and the state of the economy. Here are a few such incidents.
Public Safety Towers Hit by Copper Thieves
The Houston metro area is experiencing an epidemic of tower copper heists. In addition to costing thousands of dollars, copper thefts at dozens of public safety wireless towers in the Houston area have threatened lives by disrupting dispatcher communications with firefighters and paramedics, according to KHOU TV.
After breaking into the fire department’s transmission tower and disabling the surveillance camera, thieves ripped the generator and caused an hour-long communications outage covering a quarter of a million people, according to the fire chief.
The copper thefts have occurred in northern Harris and southern Montgomery counties during a period of several months.
Cost of Copper Stolen from N.C. Towers Totals $12,400
The Guilford County sheriff’s office received five reports of copper thefts from three cell towers in Greensboro, N. C. late in November, according to the North Carolina News Record. Verizon and AT&T operate one tower; AT&T operates the second site; and American Tower and North State Communications operates the third. There are no suspects in the thefts, which occurred during the last three months. Damage was estimated at $12,400. Thieves cut the padlocks on the fences around the towers.
Florida County Hit by Copper Thieves
Copper thieves have hit the second tower in North Escambia County, Florida, in as many months, stripping hundreds of dollars in copper grounding wire from a privately owned communications tower adjacent to a baseball park, according to NorthEscambia.com. Copper wiring valued at more than $3,000 was stolen from a county-owned communications tower in October.
In a three-day stretch in late November, nearly 7,000 customers and two schools lost land-line phone service in the metro Atlanta area, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. A cell phone tower also was temporarily knocked out. AT&T also experienced 11 thefts, including eight in one morning. The carrier is offering a reward for tips leading to the capture of the thieves.