Co-op offers $1,000 reward for copper thefts

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LAMAR COUNTY, TX -- Lamar Electric Cooperative is experiencing a rash of copper wire thefts.

Within the last three weeks nearly 2,000 pounds of copper has been stolen from their power lines. That much wire would span nearly five miles and could be sold for $7,000, but the replacement costs to the co-op are much greater than that.

"We're probably out between $15,000 and $18,000, just replacing some of the wire," said Lamar Electric Cooperative General Manager/CEO Jerry Williams.

The thieves are using limb cutters to reach up and cut the neutral copper wire and the thefts are not only costing money, but causing outages.

The thefts have been concentrated mostly in the Maxey area, however just Friday morning thefts were reported near the Hopewell community.

Lamar Electric has contacted several area scrap metal shops with no avail.

"I don't know where they are selling it," said Williams. "I'm quite sure the people that are purchasing this are pretty much aware of what they are purchasing was not acquired properly."

The thefts have caused so many problems the co-op is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone that offers information that leads to the arrest or indictment of the people involved.