Copper Theft

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haklesup
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Copper Theft

Post by haklesup » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:58 pm

I'm sure we have all heard stories of Copper thieves stealing the wire right out from under our streets. Around here they steal thousands of feet and leave our streets dark and traffic lights blinking for days to weeks at a time only to have it happen again soon after repair.

So I was wondering; Why don't more (or any) cities use Aluminum wire in these theft risk areas. I know it got a bad reputation in 70's construction but in reality, if installed correctly is just as good as Copper. Once the thieves found out the city only had beer cans in the hole, it wouldn't be worth the effort.

Anyone have insight on this topic? I believe the electrical code allows it. I just wonder why they keep putting bait in the holes.

FYI
http://www.aluminum.org/resources/elect ... electrical

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dacflyer
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Re: Copper Theft

Post by dacflyer » Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:17 am

we deal with the same thing, but they mainly steal the copper ground off poles,, they cut out sections, sometimes as small as a few inches.
i only seen 1 time where the neutral on a power pole was stolen.. i just happen to see it,, the restaurant did not even know it had happen..
the neutral was missing from the power line, but the circuit was still somehow complete via the grounds and down guys at both poles..i could not see any other way it to be complete.. anyway i notified the owner and the power company. it could have been a real disaster..

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jwax
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Re: Copper Theft

Post by jwax » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:13 am

It does make perfect sense, especially for overhead lines, aluminum being lighter. Maybe Alcoa/Reynolds don't have the same political power with the utilities that the existing copper suppliers have.

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Externet
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Re: Copper Theft

Post by Externet » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:15 am

Murphy's law clearly states that if they install aluminium wire instead; its price will rise enough for thieves to be renamed 'aluminium thieves' and will be back in the game...

On a side note, I had a visit of copper thieves years ago on an unocuppied house. Police got them by matching their cutting pliers to the cutmarkings in wire. Just like ballistics matching... But them in jail does not fix nor pay the costly damage done, for them to have a few $. We either lose or lose.
- Abolish the deciBel ! -

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Lenp
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Re: Copper Theft

Post by Lenp » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:12 am

Years ago the theft of copper tubing from HVAC systems was an epidemic. One church, with multiple accessible systems, was hit several times.
We installed a pressure switch inside on the HVAC tubing for each system. It triggered a dialer when the pressure dropped too low.
They came back, cut one line and before they could get it all pulled out and loaded, they were bagged!
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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dacflyer
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Re: Copper Theft

Post by dacflyer » Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:10 am

that was a awsome idea.. that should be an option for all ac units... or a set of relay contacts that the low pressure switch controls. that way you have the NC or NO option..

sghioto
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Re: Copper Theft

Post by sghioto » Fri Aug 12, 2016 6:07 am

When I worked years ago for an alarm company in new construction, we routinely connected the outside compressor with a two conductor cable that was shorted at the unit acting as a normally closed switch. When the wires were cut the alarm was triggered. Don't know if anybody was ever caught or not.

Steve G

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Lenp
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Re: Copper Theft

Post by Lenp » Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:31 am

As long as scrap dealers ask no questions there will always be a problem. Once a pair of ' citizens' tried to steal the aluminum steps outside our office trailer, while we were inside! Their excuse was that their boss said he needed the steps for a little while at the other trailer...the 'boss' was in our trailer, there was only one trailer on the site, and nobody knew them ...but a scrap dealer was just up the road about a half mile...

A well dressed guy went into a large school's office and said his company had a contract to overhaul their IBM typewriters. He would pick them up now and another employee was on his way with repair loan machines. You know the rest of this story.

In another school, near the end of the day, a 'telephone' man showed up to fix some problem. He was admitted to the telephone room. Next morning the phones in the building were inoperative. Another telephone man arrived to find the switching equipment was gone. Just the cut cables and a mark on the wall existed!

And on and on....
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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