CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A reward is being offered to help authorities find and prosecute the suspects accused of stealing copper wire from nearly 500 light poles throughout Kentucky.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is offering a $5,000 reward. Teflon Coated Copper Wire
The theft of the copper wire has resulted in more than $300,000 in repairs needing to be done, according to KYTC. The money from the repairs will be coming from taxpayers, they added.
Chief District Engineer for the Department of Highways Matt Bullock says stealing the copper from the light poles is a public safety risk for drivers and thieves.
“People not being able to see as well as they need to in these interchanges at night,” explained Bullock. “We’re also concerned about the thieves actually getting into some of these pole bases when we have very high voltages that can kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing when you get in there hazardously getting in there to cut the wire.”
Bullock says the process is high-risk with a high reward.
Copper wire scrap can sell for $2.5 per pound, while insulated copper wire can sell for 84 cents a pound, according to scrapmonster.com
Thieves get nearly 200 to 400 square feet of wiring every time they break into the light poles, Bullock explains.
He adds that it costs nearly triple that amount for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to replace the wiring.
“What we have in front of us is about $350,000 worth of materials and repairs, that’s inclusive of installation costs,” Bullock calculates.
Bullock says that while the issue is big throughout Kentucky, Louisville is impacted the most.
“We had about nine interchanges in Louisville area that have gone dark, and some of those we’ve actually relit with a lot of work, and funds and taxpayer dollars,” Bullock says. “Some of those have been hit again.”
He says authorities have not made any arrests at this time.
Call 502-330-7506 if you have information regarding the copper wire thefts.
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