For more information, contact:
Bob Dickelman – Writexpress
Iowa’s electric utilities join forces to combat copper theft with new Crime Stoppers program
Across Iowa, copper theft from electric utilities is a serious crime. These thefts can cause power surges, outages, fires, explosions and injuries to utility workers or innocent people coming into contact with tampered equipment. In addition, post-theft repairs can run into tens of thousands of dollars for each incident.
To combat this growing threat, Iowa’s electric utilities have teamed up with Crime Stoppers to create a special toll-free phone line (800-452-1111) so citizens can report suspicious activities at an electric utility’s substation – or around other equipment, such as a transformer, power pole or even the meter at a residence, farm or business.
Once a tip is received, Crime Stoppers will contact the local sheriff or other designated law enforcement agency about the possible crime. After the caller has seen or heard on the local news that a crime has been solved, he or she can call Crime Stoppers to receive instructions for claiming a cash reward up to $1,000, although most rewards range from $20-200. The caller’s identity and other information will remain anonymous throughout the process.
With scrap copper selling for about $3 a pound, thieves – both amateurs and pros – are risking their lives for no more than 10 to 25 pounds of copper wire worth less than $100.
"These thieves are risking their lives and the lives of others for a very small return on their ‘investment’ in crime,” said Bob Dickelman, spokesperson for the project. “The new Crime Stoppers program will help deter these criminals. We want the eyes of our communities to help us stop copper theft, prevent unnecessary outages and keep Iowans safe.”
Electric utilities and organizations involved in the creation and continuing support of the Crime Stoppers program to stop copper theft in Iowa include Alliant Energy, the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and MidAmerican Energy Company. For more information, contact Bob Dickelman at 515-229-3232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.