Across the country and here in Iowa the theft of precious metals (including copper, aluminum and bronze) is on the rise stolen from abandoned or vacant buildings, empty homes and most dangerously from overhead power lines along rural roads, electric cooperative substations and storage facilities. Copper metal theft is a growing, expensive and dangerous trend in Iowa that threatens your electric service reliability, the public's safety and potentially cooperative linemen's lives.
During the early morning hours of March 3, 2012, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative's facilities in Estherville, Iowa was invaded by thieves where our metal wire spools were stolen, the storage building was damaged along with some of our equipment used in the crime.
The total cost of this burglary was in excess of $35,000 and the cooperative has offered a reward in the amount of $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the criminals involved.
The Iowa Legislature is currently considering House File 2399, which is a solutions-based approach to help provide law enforcement with the added tools necessary to track the sale of salvaged metal materials. Iowa's electric cooperatives support this legislation and we are in total agreement with state, county or local law enforcement groups, including the Iowa Department of Public Safety, that this bill and the creation of a better paper trail could help deter future metal theft crimes in Iowa.
Please join Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative in support of this bill so that we can help keep the delivery of your electricity as safe and reliable as possible, and avoid the associated damage and repair bills that a metals theft leaves behind. Contact your state Senator or Representative and urge them to support this important legislation.
(signed) Terry L. Bruns, CPA
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative