Copper Thieves Cut Down Power Poles


By WSIL Reporter

WHITE COUNTY -- Authorities in White County are searching for a group of people that are cutting down power poles. They say the thieves are after the copper loops on top of those poles.
The White County's Sheriff's Office started getting reports about the downed poles on Saturday. Now, the count is over a dozen just in their county. 
Nathan Coston, a lineman for Wayne-White Electric Cooperative, says its becoming an all too common sight.
"We've probably already got 25 poles so far. I think they've already done this down in Southeastern's territory," he says.
The company estimates repairs will cost more than $30,000. But it's also hurting residents. Many of the poles that were cut down run electricity to grain bins.
Walter Storey manages a farm and says it could have ruined his crop if this had happened later in the season.
"I think it cost the owner of this bin $500 to $1,000 to repair all of this," he adds. 
Sheriff Doug Maier says the thieves appear to use the cover of darkness, targeting poles that are obstructed or set off the road.
"I think it's all done by the same group. The different areas makes us believe that someone is familiar with this area. You wouldn't locate some of these by just driving by," he explains.
"Nearest house 1/8 mile a way, and there was no light on the bin. Now that the horse is out of the barn, were going to put a light on the bin," Storey jokes.
The sheriff says they've recovered fingerprints at the crime scenes and are waiting for them to be analyzed. But he has a good idea about the type of person they're looking for. 
"A normal person wouldn't even attempt to do this, and some of the things they're doing would make you believe that they had some kind of experience in that field," he says.
Sheriff Maier is asking anyone who knows about the thefts to come forward. There is a $6,500 reward for a tip that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.
If you have information, call the White County Sheriff's Office at (618) 382-5321.


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