(Allentown) -- PPL Electric Utilities is hoping to crack down on a rash of incidents involving people stealing copper wire from its substations.
It's offering a reward up to one thousand dollars for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.
Spokesman Joe Nixon says the utility has experienced nearly 50 such thefts already this year -- compared to 36 in all of last year.
He says anyone who spots suspicious activity should first call police.
"That's the easiest way for law enforcement to get there as quickly as possible," he explains. "It could be that our crews or contractors are in there working, and if that's the case, obviously, that will bear out."
Some thieves try to make a buck selling copper grounding wire for scrap, but Nixon says it’s not worth risking serious injury or death inside an electric substation.
He says the reward program is designed to both generate tips and deter potential crimes.
The vandalism does not appear to be just a PPL problem. Data indicates 95 percent of utilities experience some degree of copper theft.
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