Copper theft continues to plague some operators, with Embarq
Corp. expanding its reward program to all of Trumbull County, Ohio.
The triple-play provider had previously offered a $1,000 reward for information
leading to the apprehension of thieves in Warren,
Ohio. With the expansion of the
bounty area, the provider has also raised the stakes to $5,000.
The crime has increased over the last five years as scrap metal prices increased.
A year ago, scrap copper could be sold for more than $3.60 a pound. Today, the
price for scrap copper wire is hovering around $1.10 a pound, but thieves are
still apparently cutting into utility plant to steal the metal. Even fiber
optic cable plant has been cut in areas around the country by thieves unaware that
the wire contains glass, not copper.
Embarq has used public bounties in Las Vegas and
Warren in 2007.
Last year it expanded those efforts to Houston,
and now Trumbull County is included.
"Copper theft is not only a financial drain on Embarq it also puts the
entire community at risk of losing 911 and other emergency communications if
those lines are cut by the copper thieves," said Dallas Hayden, manager of
corporate investigations at Embarq, in a prepared statement. He added that
there have been reports of copper thieves killed by electrocution from cutting
electrical wires while seeking copper wiring.