Local wire theft problem persists

Telus and Rogers are the latest targets, resulting in prolonged phone service interruption for Hope customers.

Hope continues to be hit hard by copper wire theft.

Telus and Rogers are the latest targets, resulting in prolonged phone service interruption for customers. Local RCMP were called to a possible theft in progress on Monday from the Telus tower on Thacker Mountain Road at about 6:30 a.m. Police located at 41-year-old Chilliwack woman sitting in a van with copper wire and cutting tools inside. She was taken into custody and scheduled to appear in Chilliwack provincial court on Tuesday. Police have recommended a charge of theft over $5,000.

“The police often receive reports of these thefts long after they happen. By that time it’s often too late for us to identify those responsible as they have already left,” said Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth. “On the other hand, it’s often these thefts are going unreported to the police. We want to encourage people to call if they suspect a wire theft is occurring.”

While copper wire can be appealing to thieves who sell the metal for scrap, it is extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury or death. Hollingsworth said burglars will often climb power poles, scale fences and break into buildings just to obtain a few dollars worth of metal. According to police, most people stealing copper wire are drug dependent and looking for cash to support their habit.

“The police would like to encourage the community to get involved to combat this problem. Community members can play an important role by calling the police right away if you see any suspicious activity or suspicious persons in possession of wire,” said Hollingsworth. “Because copper can be found in a variety of building materials, including plumbing, air conditioner units, gutters and in electrical components, taking as many precautions as possible to protect these items is the best way to prevent theft.”

RCMP tips to prevent copper theft:

•  Post “No Trespassing” signs

•  Hire security

• Lock buildings and compounds securely at night

• Use fluorescent paint or engraving to brand copper materials with your company’s logo

• Install motion-sensor lights or security cameras on the outside of your house and business to deter possible thieves

• Store tools and wire cutters in a secure location, and never leave them out while you are away

• If you work in construction, do not leave any wires unattended or leave loose wire at the job site, especially overnight.