Copper Thieves Risk Lives Taking Down Power Lines

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CBS13 Hidden Camera Investigation

CBS13 undercover news team members took pure copper wire into Sacramento County recycling plants to see if state laws are being followed. In three of four tests, it wasn’t.

WEST SACRAMENTO – Brazen thieves ripped down thousands of feet of live power lines overnight in West Sacramento to steel the copper wires used inside.

The theft happened overnight at Riske Lane and River Road in a construction yard across from Raley Field.

Police arrived on scene of what they thought was a blown transformer but found that thieves had taken an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 feet of copper wire from power lines.  PG&E crews say it is more like 5,000 feet, or nearly a mile, of power lines.

PG&E says the thieves threw a weighted rope over the lines, attached it to a truck, and literally ripped down the 12,000 volt power lines from eleven power poles. 

“They had to be out here eight hours.  That’s a lot of work,” said Bill Harrington of PG&E.

PG&E crews say it was an extremely dangerous thing to do and the thieves could have been killed.

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