Thieves are reaching new heights with their crimes around here. Detectives with the Jim Wells County Sheriff’s Department say they’re going after the copper wiring on utility poles. They’re climbing poles and snipping the lines, making for an easy score.
Most thefts happen at night on county roads with little to no traffic. It’s a trend that began about three weeks ago.
"I believe we are up to a little more than 1400 feet now of copper wire that has been taken off high lines here in Jim Wells County. It adds up but it is still a very dangerous situation and very costly for NEC Co-op Energy to come back and repair," said Jim Long, Jim Wells Constable Precinct 3.
Copper wire sells for up to $3 per pound at scrap metal yards. While it is not known how much copper has been stolen, damages alone are estimated at $10,000 to $20,000 ultimately paid for by Nueces Electric Cooperative members.
To fight back against this persistent threat, for the past several years NEC has used an aluminum wire with a steel core during repairs and new installations.
Because it is steel inside instead of copper, the wire is harder to cut and has minimal scrap value. In addition, the bonding process of the aluminum and steel does not allow galvanic corrosion, which ensures longevity in service.
Officials are asking anyone with information on these incidents to call the Jim Wells County Constable Precinct 3 at 361-547-9895.