Reward offered for information on copper theft

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Alfa Insurance is offering a $10,000 reward to the first person who provides information that will lead to the conviction of the those who stole about 1,300 feet of copper wire and damaged the motors of an irrigation system belonging to a Pike County farmer.

Goshen farmer Michael Sanders was pulling corn last week when he noticed that the grass around his irrigation system was beaten down.

That sent up a red flag to the experienced farmer.

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A closer look revealed damage to one of his center pivot irrigation systems.

“Whoever did this had jerked the copper wire out,” Sanders said. “It was 1,100 feet to where it drops at the tower so it would be 1,300 feet or better.”

Sanders said he doesn’t know what the “street value” of the copper wire would be but he has some idea of what the repairs will be.

“I’m not sure about the cost of the repairs but I would think somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000,” he said.

Sanders said the “thieves” were familiar with the layout of the farm.

“They knew what they were doing,” he said. “There was a pivot close to the highway but they didn’t bother it. This pivot is in the backside of nowhere. It’s three-quarters to a mile at the end from the highway so you couldn’t see it from the highway.”

Being on an isolated area of the farm, the thieves had ample time to “work” Sanders said. “It probably took them a couple of hours to get the wire, depending on whether they cut it up in pieces and hauled it off or rolled it up.”

Sanders said that he is hopeful that the $10,000 reward being offered by Alfa Insurance will be an incentive for someone to come forward with the information needed to convict those who violated his farm.

“Farm burglaries happen more often than you might think,” he said. “Government wants these thefts stopped so a task force has been organized to investigate farm burglaries.”
Sanders said farm thefts are not only costly in money and time, they also steal a farmer’s sense of security.

Farmers work long, hard hours and often have to battle the elements in their efforts to make a crop.

Farmers shouldn’t have to keep looking over their shoulders to see if a thief is coming in the night to rob them of their livelihood, Sanders said.

Anyone with information about the theft of copper wire from the Sanders’ farm or any other farm theft is encouraged to call the Agriculture and Rural Crimes Unit at 1-855-75CRIME (1-855-752-7463) or local law enforcement.