Wisconsin Public Service reports thieves have tampered with telephone poles in the Wausau area. Keith Markstrum of the WPS Electric Line Department says someone stole copper wiring from about two dozen power poles in the past few weeks. Markstrum says the thefts are not only illegal but potentially dangerous, " For one it causes us financial burden to fix them and the bigger problem is the potential for bodily harm. They wouldn't know it until they come in contact."
The thefts are blamed on the rising prices offered for metals. Keith Jaeger of Wausau Scrap & Recycling (formerly Wausau Steel) says, "Since 2004 metal prices have been climbing. It isn't unusual for copper scrap to get $3 a pound."
Jaeger adds that his workers are trained to look for suspicious sales and they document all sales transactions. Since 2008, Wisconsin has required recycling centers to document sales. At Wausau Scrap & Metal , Jaeger says they require sellers to show identification, take down the make of car and date of the sale for documentation, should any future questions come up about a sale.
The Wausau Police Department is investigating the copper thefts. If you have any information call: 715-261-7800.