Help Sheriff apprehend copper thief

Posted May 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm

On April 25, 2013 a local resident notified our office of a suspicious vehicle which entered upon his property near Wall Lake southwest of Miller. The caller said a white FORD or CHEVY pickup came into his stack yard at about 3 A.M, but didn’t appear to take anything. Another resident of that area said the vehicle appeared to be a mid ’90s Ford. Both agreed the vehicle had considerable rust around the wheel wells and blue pin-stripping. They also agreed that it had a topper. Another resident of the area identified a white Ford with 45Wxxx license plates in the area the following date.

In March/early April a copper theft took place southwest of Ree Heights. The thieves entered upon the property of an unoccupied home and stole over 900 feet of copper wire from the utility poles plus the G.E. transformer from the pole mount. These thieves also removed considerable copper wire from the home and outbuildings.

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Just the stub is all that remains of electrical wiring running from a socket in a barn in southern Hand County. The Hand County Sheriff’s Department requests the public’s assistance in apprehending thieves in a string of robberies.

To better facilitate the theft, the thieves used saws to cut the utility poles down and removed their treasure while the items were on the ground.

In June of 2012 we reported the theft of copper wire from an irrigation pivot Southwest of Wessington. In that case the thieves removed the high voltage line between the wheel sections of the pivot.

Also in 2012 a home south of Vayland was entered and the copper plumbing was stolen from it.

Thievery of this nature is not new to Hand County but it is becoming a bigger issue in the area, the region, the state, and country.

An electrician told me the best way to prepare insulated wire is to burn it off. The tell-tale sign being the heavy black smoke it puts off.

We encourage people to be vigilant in checking your properties, use camera systems, network with neighbors to watch for each other when gone, and secure valuables as best you can.

If you see a crime in progress, dial 911. If you have a late report or tip, call our office at 605-853-2408 or if you are in another county, your local law enforcement agency. If you think yours and our events are connected, contact both.