Copper Thefts in Union Parish - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Copper Thefts in Union Parish

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UNION PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News) - In February, our "Hot Wired" reports investigated the growing problem of copper wire thefts in the ArkLaMiss. It is a problem that's only getting worse for law enforcement, and businesses that rely on copper wire.

4 major copper wire thefts in 2 weeks in Union Parish. Police say it's a problem that's not going away. Marion assistant chief, Orville Doster, says "it's something easy for them to get to. We're having a lot of problems with it parish wide, Northeast Louisiana wide."

4 electric sub-stations were the target leaving thousands in damage and a headaches for residents. Doster says, "it did disrupt the water a couple water wells here in town." There are locks on the gate, so police believe the suspects were cutting holes in the fence to get the copper.

A estimated $13,000 in copper wiring was stolen from this sub-station owned by Claiborne Electric Company. Investigators say a similar theft happened at a second sub-station on state highway 827. Doster says, "it's probably 16, 20 feet up into dangerously close wiring, that's putting out 116,000 volts."

Doster, says the suspects stripped all of the copper; including ground wiring running to the top of the beams. Copper wire that went around the inside of the fence was also taken. The most recent thefts are along highway 2 in Bernice.

Doster says, "not only are they looking at the damages for the substation here, but also for disrupting the water wells here in town." Doster encourages everyone to report anything suspicious. He says, "if you see something suspicious it probably is suspicious. That's what were here for so call us, and we'll come check it out."

Police are following leads and believe the cases are connected. If you have information about the thefts call Union Parish Crime Stoppers at 368-9679. They are offering a $1,000 reward for an arrest. Claiborne Electric is also offering a $1,000 reward.

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