Athens Review, Athens, Texas

December 27, 2013

APD investigates copper theft

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens Police Department is investigating a theft in which someone stole copper wire and in the process damaged thousands of dollars worth of Centurylink equipment.

According to police department reports, the theft occurred in the far northwest part of the city at the intersection of Magnolia Street and Old Kaufman Road. APD received a call on Tuesday from a Centurylink employee that phone lines had been damaged.

Centurylink had become aware of a problem in the area when customers had complained of an outage of service. The company sent a technician to the location to examine the problem.

Officer Gregory Hill responded to the report and went to the location. Two of the distribution pedestals had been broken into and cable cut from the panels inside.

According to information from the company,  distribution pedestals are used in areas where phone wires are run underground instead of above ground on poles. The green box stands about three feet above the ground and is about eight inches in diameter. A pair of copper wires runs from the distribution pedestal to each telephone it serves. They are combined inside a thick cable that runs to the houses.

APD reports state that the lines in the area of Magnolia and Old Kaufman are 30 pair cables.

The company estimates that the loss from the damage is about $6,000.

  Because the damage done in stealing copper wire is often many times the value of the wire stolen, the Texas Legislature passed legislation in 2007 to stiffen the penalty.

State House Bill 1766 made theft of wiring or cable that consists of at least 50 percent aluminum, bronze or copper and that has a value of less than $20,000 a state jail felony, punishable by a sentence of no more than two years and no less that 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000.