Copper thieves target Brewer area utility poles

Posted Nov. 15, 2010, at 10:56 p.m.

BREWER — Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. workers discovered over the weekend that thieves had cut copper ground wires off several utility poles in Brewer and Orrington, company spokeswoman Susan Faloon said Monday.

“We have had a number of copper thefts lately,” she said.

Thieves hit poles on South Main Street, Elm Street and Brewer Lake Road in Brewer and then crossed into Orrington and cut copper from poles on Fields Pond Road and Brewer Lake Road in that town, she said.

The exact number was not available Monday afternoon, Faloon said.

“It’s a lot,” she said.

Bangor Hydro officials called the Brewer Police Department on Monday morning to report the thefts. Similar thefts have been reported recently in Ellsworth and Surry and from Central Maine Power Co. poles in Elliotsville in Piscataquis County.

About 30 utility poles along North Bend Road between U.S. Route 1 in Ellsworth and Route 172 in Surry were hit at the beginning of the month.

Late last month, ground wires were stolen from about 23 poles on Gary Moore Road and Sunset Park Road in Ellsworth, and two dozen CMP poles in Elliotsville were hit. Investigators with the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office are looking into the CMP thefts.

Bangor Hydro crews in Brewer “discovered the damage this past weekend,” Faloon said. “It’s hard to say when the wire was taken. It could have been in the past few days or the last month.”

The ground wires — called “down groups” — taken in the Brewer area consist of copper “wire that goes from the ground up to the transformer,” Faloon said. “They’re an added protection for grounding. It makes it a little bit safer.”

It’s unknown whether the multiple copper thefts in the region are connected, and there is a minor difference between the Ellsworth area thefts and the Brewer thefts, Faloon said.

In Brewer, “they’re taking 6- to 7-foot sections,” she said, adding the other thefts involved 4-foot lengths.

Bangor Hydro crews spent Monday fixing the damaged poles, Faloon said.

“It is approximately $150 per pole to repair the damage — that’s labor and materials,” she said.

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