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Sask. RCMP reports string of copper wire thefts from electrical transformers

Copper wire is seen in this file image. Copper wire is seen in this file image.
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The Saskatchewan RCMP says thieves in the western part of the province are damaging electrical transformers and stealing copper wire.

Between February and May, detachments around the western end of Highway 16 — Maidstone, Cut Knife and Turtleford — received multiple reports of vandalism and copper wire theft.

On Feb. 13, Maidstone RCMP reported someone snuck onto an unattended worksite and stole copper lines, a transformer and breaker. Police believe the theft had occurred four days earlier.

In mid-March, copper wire was stolen from another work site in the RM of Manitou, according to Cut Knife RCMP. Around the same time in the RM of Eldon, Maidstone RCMP says someone pulled a transformer off its base and stole the copper wire inside.

The Turtleford RCMP detachment reported four other incidents where copper wire was pilfered from transformers in April and May, including one in Frenchman Butte and one in Mervin.

“The Saskatchewan RCMP warns the public of the dangers of tampering with transformers and stealing copper wire. Vandalizing electrical equipment poses a significant safety risk and can cause serious injuries, including death,” RCMP said in a news release.

“According to SaskPower, tampering or vandalizing electrical equipment is extremely dangerous and can cause power outages, affecting homes, schools, hospitals, and more.”

Damaging a transformer can also cut off access to 911 and other critical infrastructure, police said.

The RCMP is asking the public to be aware of potential indicators of copper wire theft, including thick, black smoke or suspicious activity near an electrical station, power lines, or telecommunications lines.

Anyone with information about these or other incidents is asked to call their local RCMP detachment.

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