A rash of copper thefts has hit Putnam County, north central Tennessee, leaving thousands of dollars in damages in its wake, according to several reports in the Herald Citizen. Most recently, thieves cut down a fence and stole copper wire from a U.S. Cellular tower causing $3,500 in damages.
Theft at another cell site resulted in the removal of pieces of copper woven cable, connecting the tower with the grounding system, as well as three copper grounding bars.
What’s worse, the theft left the tower vulnerable to a lightning strike that caused $7,000 in damages to the tower’s electric equipment, in addition to the $5,000 that will be needed to replace the tower’s ground wires and grounding bars.
The week before, thieves caused $10,000 in damage in order to access $500 in copper at yet another cell site, which was owned by American Tower. The theft was discovered when employees visited the site in response to an alarm that alerted them to the outage of an obstruction light.
Thieves appeared to be targeted locations along U.S. Interstate 40, according to authorities.