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Reward offered for area copper thieves

Friday, August 24, 2012

Centurylink and the Sharp County Sheriff's Department hope money will be a motivator, as they seek the arrest and conviction of those responsible for stealing copper phone wire. The two agencies are offering up to $2,000 for information about copper thieves.

Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts said, "Stealing cable puts entire communities at risk. We can't afford for our citizens to be out of phone or electric service, for even short periods of time, because of the danger it might place them in."

It is believed the stolen copper is being sold as scrap at recycling centers. Besides the theft of phone cable, wire theft is dangerous to thieves. If the wire is a part of a live electrical system, the thief can receive an electric shock or be badly burned.

Copper wire theft also puts people who live in the area in danger when street lights or telephones stop working because their wiring is gone.

Skip Layne, Centurylink operations manager, said, "Imagine having a loved one suddenly in need of emergency medical assistance, only to find 911 services don't work because someone just cut the cable to steal the copper. This is a crime that impacts everyone."

Community vigilance is needed to help put an end to the thefts.

Anyone with information regarding the theft of copper cable is asked to call the Sharp County Sheriff's Department Crime Tip hotline at 870-994-2211.

If residents see suspected activity or a copper theft in progress, they can call 911.

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