Copper Stolen From 9 Denton Utility Poles

Cost likely to fall on electric customers, Denton Municipal Electric says

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Denton police say someone stole thousands of dollars in copper from right above James Street. (Published Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013)

    Thieves climbed nine utility poles and navigated live wires to steal copper wire in Denton last week.

    About $2,000 worth of copper wiring was removed from the nine poles that span the entire 1800 block of James Street.

    Residents will likely have to pick up the $7,000 in damage, Denton Municipal Electric said.

    "We have, of course, the cost of the material and then we have to do the work of replacing that material," said Brian Daskam, DME spokesman. "As a community-owned utility, those costs end up going to the rate-payers, so that's something we hate to see."

    Denton County has had other copper thefts in recent months. In March, about $6,000 in damage was done near Aubrey when several homes under construction were stripped of copper. Days before that theft, a man was injured after attempting to burn down a utility pole for copper.

    "It's going to be a problem as long as the price of copper goes up," Denton police spokesman Ryan Grelle said.

    Law enforcement warns the payoff for stolen copper is relatively low and that the crime is very dangerous, especially in in a case like the Denton theft.

    "They're having to climb live poles to grab the copper wire off of a live pole," Grelle said. "That's a deadly situation if they touch a wire wrong."

    "That's really the thing about this -- you might be able to get a little bit of money for stealing copper but, listen, you're going to end up in jail. You're going to electrocute yourself. This is not a long-term career move," Daskam said.

    DME and police ask people keep an eye out for suspicious activity, especially around utility poles.

    Daskam said DME workers and most contractors will always have the logo of their company visible on them. If you have any doubt about who is doing utility work, contact police right away, Grelle said.