Not firearms related, but it is a good reason to dislike thieves. I hear about this on homes being built every once and a while, but this is a very extreme occurrence of it.Copper theft becoming serious issue
3/3/2008 8:01 PM
By: Bob Robuck
Copper wire: it's encased in concrete, protected by fencing, signage and patrols. Still, police said Eddie Castro -- and possibly others with him -- managed to get to the electrically charged copper.
But it came with a deadly price.
Jessie Hernandez witnessed the incident.
"I seen this dude walking," Hernandez said. "He was on fire from the neck down."
Castro's not the only one to break into an Austin Energy substation with the intent to steal copper.
Thieves hit at least eight other substations in Central and East Austin.
Austin Energy already has safety measures in place, and as a result of the latest incident, is installing more.
Ed Clark of Austin Energy said they have increased security.
"We have been increasing our security at substations at any of our facilities with both patrols, things that we do with the wire to make it more difficult to get to, substituting the wire with a blend of materials that make it less valuable," Clark said.
They are also increasing video surveillance, and the central monitoring site is where security personnel keep watchful eyes on substation camera feeds.
"If there's a crime in progress we'll call 911 and APD and immediately request police assistance," Oswald Colon of Austin Energy Security said.
For something less suspicious, they send a patrol.
Right now, only eight of Austin Energy's 65 substations are monitored with cameras.
There are plans to put in more, but that's a costly proposition.
It costs about $80,000-$100,000 to put in cameras at any one substation.
They're also putting in walls instead of fencing on any of their newer locations, but that's a double-edged sword because even though it can keep criminals out, it can also conceal them if they do get in.
But Austin Energy maintains that no matter what it does to protect people and equipment, if thieves want to get in they will.
And those that do, may pay for their crimes with their lives.