Jeff Davis Electric warns residents of the dangers of copper theft - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Jeff Davis Electric warns residents of the dangers of copper theft

By Crystal Price - bio | email

WELSH, LA (KPLC) - As the price of copper continues to rise, thieves are taking their chances and some ending deadly.

Twenty-three year old Joel Schexnider died Wednesday when investigators said he attempted to steal copper from an electric line north of Welsh.

"He was probably thinking the line he was touching was de-energized," said Michael Heinen, general manager of Jeff Davis Electric Company. "But he chose the wrong line and it electrocuted him."

Jeff Davis Electric Company said that after this incident they want to warn all potential copper thieves about the dangers of stealing copper.

"It only takes a millisecond of touching a hot wire to cost you your life," said Heinen.

Heinen said a great deal of their thefts came right after Hurricane Rita when the demand for the metal increased, and that many of those thefts occur in rural areas of the parish.

 "They pick that area because we have copper lines serving an irrigation pump and there's not much traffic," said Heinen.

Heinen said that every time a copper thief gets away it costs the company a hefty amount to repair the lines.

"Obviously we're replacing them with much more expensive wire than was there before because of the rise in copper value," said Heinen.

Jeff Davis Electric Company said if you see anyone attempting to steal copper wire, to immediately contact the Sheriff's office or your local electric company.

Copyright 2010 kplc. All rights reserved.

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