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AT&T Goes After Copper Wire Thieves 338

coondoggie writes "Copper thieves targeting Atlanta are now being targeted themselves by AT&T, which is offering $3,000 for information leading to their arrest. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that in one recent three-day stretch, nearly 7,000 customers and two schools lost land line phone service. The FBI has said in the past that the rising theft of the metal is threatening critical infrastructure by targeting electrical substations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads, water wells, construction sites, and vacant homes for lucrative profits."
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AT&T Goes After Copper Wire Thieves

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  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @02:56PM (#34392340)

    One of the reasons newer A/C condensers have signs like "NO COPPER INSIDE" is exactly because of this.

    The reason for this happening? Copper is in areas that have no guards, alarms, curious onlookers. Then it is just one insulation-burning step away from a recycler and cash per pound.

    The only real solution is to start forcing recyclers to have a chain of custody, similar to what pawnshops have when someone tries to sell/pawn something. No "well, I got this copper from an old remodel I just did" BS which serves now. Require a valid ID for sale with valid contact info. Some recyclers do their homework with this, but there are always others who don't.

  • Re:Copper theft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @03:01PM (#34392438) Journal

    You'd think so - wouldn't you?

    Much like the problem of people killing each other should eventually result in less people willing to fight left - yes somehow that problem seems to persist throughout the ages.

    Theivery is another problem thats lasted the test of time - and even the most strict punishment awarded (death) hasn't been shown to deter this kind of activity.

    It just goes to show how illogical we as human beings are - and why "obvious solutions" never quite work as well as you'd think they would.

  • Re:Copper theft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eponymous Coward ( 6097 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @03:34PM (#34393022)

    Yes. And please remind him that he should be including this income on his 1040. :)

  • by mcspoo ( 933106 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @03:55PM (#34393378) Homepage
    Maybe I'm being a fool here but... they wouldn't steal copper if there weren't corrupt metal buyers out there. I mean, why the heck would a scrap yard accept X feet of copper wire if he shows up in his pickup? For all the press on this issue (and there's a lot of it here in Detroit), there's never any real discussion of fining or doing ANYTHING to discourage the metal buyers from accepting obviously stolen materials. Until such steps are taken (i.e. real penalties for accepting stolen cable, pipes, etc), then any licensing isn't going to much help, is it?
  • Penny mining (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @04:01PM (#34393484)
    Of course ne'er-do-wells have resorted to stealing copper wire, ever since The Man made melting down pennies a federal crime []. US pennies and nickels are technically worth more as metal than their face value. (I can't source it but I recall reading that before the new regulation was made a company was actually gearing up to enter the penny-melting business until the feds put the kibosh on it.)

  • by CrAlt ( 3208 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @06:41PM (#34396424) Homepage Journal

    Rolling up to the scrap yard is with some old knob and tube copper wiring would seem legit...
    Rolling up to the scrap yard with some newish 250 pair aerial phone wire with AT&T logo's on the side and all does not.

    I scrap things all the time in my auto hobby. I think its kinda easy to spot the things that may be stolen.. Like where does a guy with meth rash and no teeth come across 7 good looking saws-alled off catalitic converters? Or car batteries with the terminals just ripped off? Or radiators that arnt even corroded looking?

    The scrap yards know alot of the stuff they take in is stolen. They just don't care.
    All they would have to do with scan ID's and roll some video tape if they wanted to stop it.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990