An emergency power outage in the Newcomerstown area June 6 resulted from thieves stealing copper wire from an electric substation -- one of three such incidents reported that day.
Thieves reportedly stole multiple copper ground wires from the Guernsey-Muskingum Electric substation near Newcomerstown and two American Electric Power substations on Plainfield and Broom roads in Guernsey County.
"The vandals took their own lives in danger cutting and stealing numerous wires," said Brian Bennett, manager of member services for Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative Inc.
According to Bennett, the damage was identified June 6 around noon.
An emergency outage was called at 3:40 p.m. so that Guernsey-Muskingum Electric crews could safely repair the substation before further damage was caused.
The repairs were completed and power was restored at 7:30 p.m.
The Newcomerstown substation serves 2,075 member-consumers in southern Tuscarawas and northern Guernsey County.
"In the past couple of years, Guernsey-Muskingum Electric has embarked on several methods to protect and deter theft, but ask if anyone sees non-cooperative vehicles in and around Sub Stations to call 911," said Bennett.
"The damages caused are much more costly than the scrap value of wire, and deaths have occurred throughout the country when attempting to cut and steal wire in other system's substations."
Guernsey-Muskingum offers a $5,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals stealing copper wire from a cooperative substation.
In Guernsey County, AEP officials estimated damage at the substation on Plainfield Road at $8,000 after thieves cut a hole in the fence surrounding the facility and then cut the copper ground wires off the transformers.
The damage was reported by AEP officials at 9:52 a.m., making it the second report after similar damage was reported at a substation on Broom Road.
As with the theft on Plainfield Road, thieves cut a hole in the fence to gain access to the grounds at the Broom Road substation.
The incident near Newcomerstown remained under investigation by the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office, while the incidents in Guernsey County are being investigated by the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office.
Anyone with information regarding the thefts from the substations on Broom and Plainfield roads are asked to call the sheriff's office at (740) 439-4455.