Power company offers $25,000 reward in wire thefts

Power company offers $25,000 reward in wire thefts

This is a press release courtesy of Bonneville Power Administration

Early this week, thieves broke into a Bonneville Power Administration substation in Eugene, Ore., and stole copper wire.  BPA and law enforcement officials are investigating, and BPA is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

The incident occurred at the Lane Substation located on Kenneth Nielsen Road in Eugene.

"Thieves continue to risk their lives and the safety of our crews to steal copper wire," said Dale Coulombe, district manager.  "Also, the costs associated with these thefts are ultimately paid by electricity consumers."

BPA estimates that the damage associated with the break-in and wire theft is between $20,000 and $30,000.  Last year, there were more than 25 such incidents that cost BPA nearly $200,000 to repair.

"We're hoping that this information will help jog the memory of someone who may know about this theft or may have seen something suspicious occurring at the Lane Substation," said Kevin West, BPA physical security specialist.  "Sometimes even small details can help law enforcement officials make significant investigative progress." 

Through its Crime Witness Program, BPA offers up to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of individuals committing crimes against BPA facilities and infrastructure. Anyone having information is asked to call BPA's confidential and toll-free Crime Witness Hotline at (800) 437-2744 or local law enforcement.

Last month, BPA provided a $4,000 reward to an individual who provided information that led to the arrest and conviction of thieves who stole copper wire and damaged equipment at Bonneville Power Administration substations in western Montana.   Since 2006, BPA has paid 10 rewards totaling almost $13,000.

BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.