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Copper thieves at work

Copper thefts have been threatening the US infrastructure lately even though the prices of copper have come down. The copper thieves are now organized groups who can sabotage the entire infra structure from the electrical substations to the cellular towers and the telephone landlines. This is the result of the unexpectedly high prices for copper. It has been an unprecedented high with a 500% increase from the prevailing prices in 2001 though recently the price has gone down..

The FBI has publicized an unclassified report on copper thefts. These thefts have vast repercussions. E.g. the bureau reports that Mississippi could not be warned about an impending tornado “because copper thieves had stripped the sirens of copper wiring, thus rendering them inoperable.” In another case, 4,000 Polk County, Florida residents suffered due to lack of power in March “after copper wire was stripped from an active transformer” — a $500,000 loss. Even the Arizona farmers were not spared, they had $10 million in damages when they found copper pipes were stripped from irrigation wells and pumps which resulted in crop failures.

“Organized groups of drug addicts, gang members, and metal thieves are conducting large scale thefts from electric utilities, warehouses, foreclosed and vacant properties, and oil well sites for tens of thousands of dollars in illicit proceeds per month,” the report said. The report also added that one of the reasons for the strong demand for copper was the international trade which was “creating a robust international trade” of copper thieves

It is a serious issue even now which needs to be addressed.

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