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Thieves take 2,000 pounds of copper wire.

Byline: Aaron Nicodemus

HOPEDALE - Someone drove a pickup truck through a wooded area on two successive nights, cut through a fence and stole more than 2,000 pounds of copper wire from the National Grid facility on Route 140.

Police said a thief or thieves entered the National Grid site through a rear fence Monday and Tuesday nights. Once inside, they stole copper wire with a black covering from trucks, off the ground, in the garage and in the main building.

With the price of copper scrap approaching $4 per pound, the thieves might have made off with $8,000 worth of copper, according to Officer Wayne Minichielli.

The thefts occurred between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. both days, police said.

Officer Minichielli said the thieves got to the rear fence through a wooded area off Plain Street. Evidence left behind indicated that the pickup truck was painted black or royal blue, and the passenger side rearview mirror and right front tire were damaged as the truck scraped by a small tree.

Police ask anyone with information on the thefts to call the Police Department at (508) 634-2227. The case is being investigated by Detective Joseph Conlon and Officer Minichielli.

Thefts of copper have increased at utilities and construction sites.

Last month, a Webster man was caught and charged with stealing 600 feet of copper tubing from Village Congregational Church in Whitinsville, which was under construction at the time. Two men were sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison for stealing copper wiring and tubing from houses under renovation.

National Grid has been a common victim.

Last year, a Warren man was nearly electrocuted trying to steal copper wiring from a National Grid substation in Worcester. Two Oxford men were arrested in Sutton last year with a truck full of copper stolen from a National Grid site in Millbury.

David Graves, a spokesman for National Grid, said numerous successful prosecutions have taken place against people stealing copper from National Grid, and the utility works with local police.

"We take it very seriously," he said. "We'll work with the Hopedale police on this."
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 16, 2008
Words:354
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