Energy Department says copper thieves hitting federal sites via The Washington Post

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, August 18, 3:37 PM

WASHINGTON — With copper prices at a near record, thieves across the country have been stealing copper wiring from overhead power lines. Now federal officials say they’re targeting power substations and even a locked recycling yard at a nuclear lab.

The Energy Department’s inspector general reports a “troubling increase” in copper thefts from federal sites, including national research labs, generating stations and a plant where nuclear weapons are dismantled and stored. Thefts have ranged from small amounts to about 30,000 pounds of copper stolen from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. In Texas, hundreds of pounds of copper were stolen from the Pantex plant near Amarillo, where nuclear weapons are stored and dismantled.

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