$50 copper wire theft causes $30,000 in damage
“My first concern is the safety of our employees, emergency responders, and the public,” said Hamm. “In this case, the thief, or thieves, risked severe burns or death for about $50 worth of copper, and they put emergency responders and people who rely on electricity for life support at risk.”Not only does copper theft from electric service equipment often injure or kill those stealing it, it also is a federal offense, according to a press release from Otter Tail Power Company. “The Department of Homeland Security considers interference with the electrical grid to be a potential act of terrorism,” Hamm said. Hamm also expressed concern about the costs. “Repairs to Otter Tail Power Company’s substation will exceed $30,000,” he said, “That’s in addition to the impact to several large customers who had to shut down their operations when we turned off electricity to secure the scene.” The Wahpeton Police Department is continuing the investigation and will coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security.