Copper wire theft a growing problem

Recent copper wire theft from area radio towers could have an adverse effect on people’s lives. According to Hutchinson County Fire Marshal Danny Richards, a serious matter is at hand – the theft of copper wire from radio towers.“What the deal is, they go in and steal the lightning protection, which is thick copper surrounding the bust bars, but they also steal all the copper wire around and not only did they put us off by stealing the copper wire, they stole the electrical service,” said Richards.Richards explained to the Hutchinson County Commissioners at their Monday meeting that there will be extra security placed around these local towers to catch these criminals in the act and prevent it in the future. “It’s not just the fact that this is an inconvenience of having to install the security system, it’s the fact that we have fire departments and ambulances and it is a critical piece of equipment, because people’s lives depend on that,” stated Richards. He also said, “There are laws about tampering with safety communication systems and we will prosecute to the absolute fullest!” There is evidence available and the Hutchinson County Sheriff’s Office is working on finding these criminals. One of the clues to this theft is if the red light on the tower is not blinking. That means the power has gone out and the criminals are taking all they can get. Also during this meeting, the commissioners approved the lease agreement for a Xerox copier at the Annex, a 2013 resolution for indigent defense grant, job descriptions for employees of the airport, and the Unifirst customer service agreement for the Sheriff’s Office. Commissioners approved all payment of bills and made no corrections to the previous meeting and Richards, recommend for the commissioners to continue the 90 day burn ban.