Copper wire thieves risking electrocution

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO - Halton police fear someone will die trying to steal expensive copper wire as thieves attack live transformers.

With scrap prices for copper and aluminum having doubled in the last two years and now at an 18-year high, police have noticed a "dangerous trend" in copper wire thefts from active, high-voltage equipment.

"The disturbing part is wire is being taken from active transformers," Detective Constable Ewen Crook said in a statement.

"In each case, the suspects took the grounding wire and did not touch the live wire. Police are concerned tampering with live wires could result in electrocution."

Crook said the Burlington break and enter squad reported five thefts in the city in October in which one-inch thick copper grounding wire was stolen. Police say they are working with reputable scrap metal dealers and other area police forces to track the thieves and have increased patrols in industrial areas. Police are asking that scrap metal and/or copper wire be secured and protected.


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