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High-Voltage Fences For Zapping Would-Be Copper Thieves 363

coondoggie writes "It may be a gimmick or the ultimate answer, but a California city this week okay-ed a draft ordinance that would let businesses install 7,000-volt electric fences to protect sites from rampant copper thieves. As reported by the Sacramento CBS station, the reaction from one business owner to the ordinance says it all: 'It'll be a little fun to watch one of these guys get electrocuted holding my fence trying to rob me.'"
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High-Voltage Fences For Zapping Would-Be Copper Thieves

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  • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:42PM (#42060289) Journal

    But this isn't a booby trap.
    The fences have to be properly signed, and are only allowed in industrial zoned areas.

    Frankly, I think it's a bit overkill, but I totally understand. A local yard was robbed of commercial sized spools of copper wire, had to cost a ton. Even worse, thieves have been opening the access panel on street lights and using their cars to pull the wire out.

    Rancho Cordova (where this passed) has long been seen as a higher crime area, not surprised they're going to these lengths at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:51PM (#42060395)

    That is the law in my state. Businesses not following it was rampant. But then, the state police started doing stings where they do things like bring multiple faucets or huge amounts of piping and the like. All it takes is one bust and you lose your recycling license for the business and the employee who doesn't report the suspicious transaction can be charged as well, which means they can be unhireable in that business and many others with the felony conviction. Lets just say that that cut into the problem quite a bit in the major cities.

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:10PM (#42060625)
    When was the last time illiterate citizens legally obtained large amounts of copper they want to swap for untraceable cash?

    When was the last time someone not recorded in government registries was in the USA? hint: drivers license, social security number, birth certificate, travel/work visa... I can only think of illegal immigrants.

    Last time I dumped a bunch of copper pipe at a local scrap metal place I had to produce photo ID and fill out a form. I don't live in USA though.
  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:15PM (#42060685) Journal
    Where I live that is one of many regulations related metal recycling. It hasn't worked. There is no way to identify a particular piece of pipe, wiring etc. and say it came from some specific location. Even where you COULD match it up, that would require forensic inspection of every piece of metal trash, then comparing each to all thefts. We're talking about vast amounts of scrap, trash, every day, not the occasional mysterious body evey few years, so the forensics to match them aren't anywhere near feasible.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:36PM (#42060945) Homepage Journal

    Oh yeah, it would be so hard. I guess that's why every pawn shop manages to survive even though the keep sale records.

    All you do is take a picture of the person bring into the copper. Or copy an ID.
    Cheap and quick to do. If this means the price I get for recycling goes don a dollar a ton for copper,, the so be it.

    If you don't want to participate in society, then you aren't getting the benefits of society.
    Someone shows up with pounds of copper material, keeping track of where they get it is reasonable.

    Or do you think tons of stolen copper has no cost on business and government?

  • by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:39PM (#42062553) Homepage

    There was an area in Russia where thieves cut down a high-tension wire. They shot a steel cable over the line, shorting it out and causing the breakers to pop. They then cut out a HUGE section before it could reset. They got nearly 2 miles of cable.

    The local power company replaced the cables. They finish working at the other end, and give the okay to turn on the power. Two miles downrange, see a huge flash, then they hear *BOOM!* The power goes offline again, and the repair team goes back to where the first cut was made.

    They find a grass fire. After putting it out, they find that the cable had been cut again, and was in the process of being coiled up by the thief.

    The thief had been standing in the middle of the coil when the power was turned on.

    All they found was a pair of boots, with feet inside them. Everything else had been vaporized.

  • Re:Yikes... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:51AM (#42064219)
    This is known as the "Pournelle Solution". See Yet Another Modest Proposal, by Larry Niven.

    It is named after Jerry Pournelle's proposed solution for radioactive waste disposal. It works like this:

    [1] Find an historically (and consistently) arid region.

    [2] Pile up your radioactive waste in the middle,

    [3] build a fence around it, say maybe 100 miles radius. Then

    [4] put signs on the fence, in several languages, that say "If you cross this fence, you will die."

    [5] End of problem.

    I may not have gotten Jerry's words exactly right, but this is the gist of his suggestion.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.