An apparent spike in cell tower attacks by thieves across the country has investigators and private investigators conducting multiple investigations, surveillance details and trying to track the copper wire and the money trail.
Copper wire and pipe thefts are nothing new but the police say that thieves are taking their thefts to a new height, literally.
The Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department in Springfield Illinois said that they are investigating a string of copper wire thefts across the county.
Police say thieves stripped 75 feet or more of copper wiring from cell phone towers in New Berlin, Glenarm, Illiopolis, and Rochester during the month of May.
The rising prices of copper is causing many to forgo personal safety as they climb the towers and strip the copper wiring from top to bottom.
“Obviously it’s someone who knows what they’re doing,” said Sgt. Rodney Vose, Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s pretty dangerous messing around those sites and they can obviously get electrocuted.
Police say the thefts most likely happened between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and they have increased patrols around cell towers in the area.
Authorities in Mississippi investigating a string of similar thefts say that they’ve made two arrests in recent incidents where $4,000 in wire was stolen from the tower and surrounding equipment.
Nathaniel Jarod Cox, 19, and a juvenile face charges of grand larceny and malicious mischief.
In the past four months, copper thefts from cell towers have been reported in nineteen states with come counties experiencing repeat thefts at the same locations.
Copper wire thefts have left several radio and television stations off air in the past two months and police say that thefts don’t appear to be slowing down.
Police in England and Canada report similar spikes in copper thefts.
Copper thieves have gone after all kinds of targets in Southwestern Ontario, sometimes risking their lives in search of scrap metal to sell.
Now, add to that list the backup batteries that keep cellular towers working and your calls coming through.
Telecom towers have been targeted in a rash of break-ins and thefts in Middlesex, Oxford and Brant counties.
Ontario Provincial Police are investigating four incidents involving the thefts of backup batteries and copper wire that appear to have taken place between Thursday and Sunday.
Thieves salvage the copper and other components in the batteries and wiring, said OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor.
Private Officer News Staff