Pacific Power is increasing a reward they offering to catch metal thieves to $5,000. In recent days, the utility says seven power poles outside Grants Pass were cut down and the metal from the poles taken.
A Pacific Power spokesman says $50,000 worth of wire and other equipment has been taken in the last six months. The latest incident will cost more than $75,000 dollars to repair. Vice-President of Operations Doug Butler says “This is a serious problem. It creates an unnecessary safety and financial burden on our customers and we are taking aggressive action to stop it.” Such incidents put crews at risk, is hazardous to the thieves themselves and also causes an inconvenience to customers, whose service is interrupted.
Metal recyclers often encounter thieves who take the metal and sell for cash. More often than not, the thieves are drug addicts looking to make a quick dollar.
The utility is hopeful the public will report any suspicious activity they see. Actual utility workers will be using marked company vehicles, wear company gear and surround vehicles with safety cones. Anyone who does not see anything that identifies people working on power lines without something that identifies them as a worker with Pacific Power should be considered suspicious. Do not attempt to confront anyone suspicious, but call 9-1-1.
If anyone has information on past thefts, they may call the Douglas, Coos, Josephine or Jackson county sheriff’s departments, or the Oregon State Police Southern Command Center.