Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative experienced a large power outage that occurred at 11:45pm Monday night and continued into early Tuesday morning, as the result of an attempted copper theft along the transmission line near Zif, in Clay County, near the Wayne County line. Tampering with transmission lines is now considered domestic terrorism and subject to FBI investigation. In this case, thieves attempted to pull down the copper ground wire on a pole, with a truck. This resulted in the wire bouncing back into the transmission lines. The attempted theft instantly knocked 1,628 meters out of power. Crews were quickly dispatched, and the linemen were able to reroute power to restore electricity to all those members affected within 96 minutes, until the necessary repairs could be made.
This is a very dangerous situation for someone to attempt to steal copper and risk their lives around high voltage power lines. Thieves are making these attempts in isolated areas late at night when they believe most people are asleep. Wayne-White is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the people responsible for this crime. Anyone caught attempting to steal copper or vandalize power lines or the cooperative sub stations will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Wayne-White wants to ask citizens to be aware of their surroundings and contact the Sheriff’s department or the cooperative at (618) 842-2196 if you know anything about this attempted theft, or if you observe anything suspicious.