Copper Thieves Cashing in at PG&E's Expense

Utility sees increase in copper thefts.

By Erika Okano
|  Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011  |  Updated 1:57 PM PDT
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Copper Thieves Cashing in at PG&E's Expense

NBCDFW

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Copper thieves are getting more brazen as they try to make some fast cash.

PG&E workers found a 45-foot wooden utility pole chopped down in Antioch according to the Mercury News. The thieves took the transformer at the top of the pole and left the rest.

PG&E says it has seen a surge in copper thefts in the area of Antioch north of Highway 4. Thieves have hit 300 copper poles since the beginning of the year.

One Antioch officer told the Merc that copper thieves aren't just targeting utility poles, but park lights, buildings, construction sites, abandoned homes and catalytic converters on cars.

People get close to $4 a pound when they recycle copper.

PG&E pays an average of $500 per theft to replace the wiring. Already, the utility has laid out about $133,000 this year, according to the paper.

If you have any information about copper thefts, you are urged to call your local police department or the PG&E hotline at 800-743-5000.

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