Feeds

SA copper thieves bid for Darwin glory

Lesson in how electricity works learned a little too late

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Two South African men with an evidently scant knowledge of how electricity works were this morning killed while attempting to make off with copper power lines by pulling the cables with wires while standing on the ground.

According to the BBC, the pair aged between 25 and 30 made their pitch for Darwin Award immortality at first light today near Johannesburg. Percy Morokane of the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services told the Beeb that while copper theft is not "an everyday occurrence", it is a problem.

Scrap yards buy the half-inched metal and sell it abroad, although it often comes at a higher price to thieves, since "in 70 per cent of reported cases of cable theft, suspects are either killed or maimed", as Morokane explained.

He concluded: "It's a very tricky and dangerous exercise. They lack skill and expertise to work with electric equipment."

The problem of copper theft is fast becoming a world-wide issue, as prices skyrocket. As we reported last August, US communications services outfit Embarq went as far as to offer a $5,000 bounty to nail Las Vegas ne'er-do-wells who'd cost the company a cool $400,000 in swiped cables.

Wisely avoiding high-voltage installations, the perps apparently often "drive vans, don hard hats and scale telephone poles, in an attempt to blend in with legitimate telephone workers", before simply making off with their booty.

In Spain, meanwhile, organised gangs are increasingly targeting copper-rich transformer installations - mainly those used in rural areas to power irrigation pumping systems. While the thieves might get 400 or 500 Euros for their haul, the damage they cause in extracting the equipment often runs into thousands.

There's a recent report into just such a theft here (in Spanish, from the Correo de Zamora), which shows what was left after the copper bandits "cut the cables, totally dismantled the transformer and stole some components and the copper". ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title
Folio Society crowns fittest of surviving volumes
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND
Crap-spouting London upstarts to get permanent road closure
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.