LIMA — AEP Ohio has reported to local law enforcement agencies that thieves have been taking copper wire from power lines over the last few months.
The company has offered a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.
Jeff Rennie, with AEP Ohio’s media relations department, said that reported thefts have taken place between the 2000 and 3000 blocks of County Road 92 near Alger in Hardin County and in the 1000 block of Lafayette Road near Harrod. He said the missing wire in Hardin County was called in by a resident, and AEP employees discovered the missing wire in Allen County. The missing copper lines were used on the company’s electric distribution system.
Rennie said the thefts can cause power outages and disrupt the daily lives of businesses and residents — not to mention put the life of the thief in danger. Thieves have to climb distribution poles to get to the wire and have the potential of being electrocuted.
“We have found bodies before with arms missing,” Rennie said. “It is pretty gruesome, and it is dangerous.”
He said repairs needed due to thefts usually cost about three times the amount of what the copper is worth.
A value on the wire or the amount stolen has not yet been determined, Rennie said. He said several portions of line have been stolen, ranging in length from about 100 feet to several hundred feet.
“We are working with law enforcement agencies to deter further thefts and catch the thieves,” Rennie said.
Rennie said that the public can assist by reporting suspicious activity near substations, power lines and other equipment by calling AEP Ohio’s security hotline at 866-747-5845.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm