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Copper theft sparks power outage

Updated: Tuesday, October 29 2013, 09:58 PM EDT

By Jon Rudder

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va - Moundsville police are looking into a power outage incident that was caused by thieves stealing copper from a power sub station.

In total, about 3,000 AEP customers were without power for a little less than two hours this morning after a thief caused a massive power outage while stealing copper from a power substation.

"We have no idea how much was taken. Obviously some was and some was being prepared to be taken," Sgt. Don Dewitt said. "It's 2 gauge copper wire, insulated mostly. Those are large sections of wire."

The thieves got through the fence, and broke a lock on the control house door to get in. They were cutting copper cables out of the yard and had them stacked up and ready to go, but somehow tripped a breaker in the substaionand caused the outage.

"They were also missing some ground cable and they also found where pieces of the cable were placed," Dewitt said. "Apparently the offenders were staging the items to remove them from the site."

Officials with AEP say the damage caused was significant. Crews have been on scene all day doing inspections, but a total cost hasn't yet been determined.

"Schools were canceled. Obviously citizens were without power," Dewitt said. "Officers were at intersections directing traffic due to the power outage so the cost would be very difficult to estimate and assess."

Moundsville police urge you to call them if you have any information on this incident or you can call our anonymous Crime Busters tip line 800-862-BUST.

In addition AEP is offering up to a $5,000 reward to any individual that provides any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the responsible parties.

Copper theft sparks power outage

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