Ameren warns public on copper theft dangers

Ameren is warning the public about the dangers of copper theft and giving tips on how people can protect themselves.

“The one thing we realized is the price of copper has continuously risen compared to other metals,” said Brianne Lindemann, communications executive of Ameren Corporation. “Our concern is that as the economy is still kind of stagnant and not showing signs of getting better, people turn to trying to steal copper because it’s an easy source to get to.”

Lindemann said copper can be found in ground wires, at Ameren facilities, private homes, construction yards and businesses.

“If a person were to go to one of our facilities and see the copper they are able to go up and cut it down,” Lindemann said. “Those wires are live almost all the time and I think people don’t realize that once they hit it, you can either have a severe injury or death.”

Ameren says copper thefts can cause huge power outages and explosions.

“Copper thefts are rare around here but we have noticed it’s a growing problem,” Lindemann said.

Lindemann says the public needs to make sure their homes and business are not easily accessible to thieves by locking everything up while nobody is there.

“Put a timer on a light if you are away for a couple of days and set up a radio to a talk station so it sounds like people are there,” Lindemann said. “Thieves won’t come in if they think someone is there.”

Lindemann says people should report any suspicious activity around copper wires.

“If you see someone trying to attempt to steal copper, don’t confront them, and call 911 immediately,” Lindemann said.

More safety tips regarding copper theft can be found on the Ameren Web site.