Lives put at Risk for a Few Dollars

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Thieves are putting themselves and others at risk of electrocution by cutting copper wire from live electricity networks.

A spate of copper thefts from Powerco’s electricity network has prompted the lines company to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to a conviction for the crimes.

Since May, there have been 41 separate incidents of copper thefts from the network. Last month, 12 thefts were reported in Palmerston North alone. Wanganui is being targeted as well, with six thefts in October.

Powerco Group Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Manager Fiona Ewing said thieves were cutting copper components from the network with the likely intention to sell it for scrap. 

“For a few dollars, they’re putting themselves and others in great danger of serious injury or being killed.”

She said the thieves were removing copper from earth cables, designed to ensure the network was safe. In doing so, they were exposing the public and Powerco’s field staff to risk of a serious shock or electrocution.

“Powerco’s first priority is to make the network safe from the damage caused by these thieves who are looking to make a few quick bucks without any regard for the safety of the local community.”

The company’s primary concern was that the illegal activities could lead to a serious injury or death and Mrs Ewing urged members of the public to be vigilant and report suspicious behaviour.

Powerco is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest, conviction and subsequent reparation order from the thief or thieves. The reward will be equivalent to the reparation order up to a maximum of $10,000.

People with information should call Powerco on 0800 769 372, contact their local police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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