Authorities are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the theft of copper from Central Hudson substations in New York.

The thefts have occurred in northern Dutchess County.

According to New York State Police the suspects are removing copper ground wires which are currently in use. The wires destabilize the electricity in the substation. The NYSP says, "Not only is this dangerous to the suspects, but the repairs to ground wires are extremely dangerous and could lead to transformer explosions causing injury or death to workers as well as interruptions in service."

Wires used in the substations can be made from either copper or aluminum.  Both are considered to be comparable conductors of electricity.  However, copper is generally considered to be easier to work with than aluminum.  The challenge is that copper scrap is more expensive than aluminum, making it a preferred target of thieves.  The metal wiring used in the substations in question is made from copper.

Copper Wires in Central Hudson Substation Photo Courtesy: New York State Police (January 2021)
Copper Wires in Central Hudson Substation Photo Courtesy: New York State Police (January 2021)
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According to Scrap Monster (scrapmonster.com), as of January 5, 2022 the average basic aluminum scrap metal price in Utica is $.45 per yard.  One yard of basic copper scrap, by contrast, averages $3.40 per yard.

The operator of the substations, Central Hudson, is offering the reward in an effort to find those responsible for breaking into the substations at Smithfield, Hibernia, and Stanfordville.

Anyone with information that might be useful in the investigation, or about the identity of the person or persons responsible for the thefts, is asked to call New York State Police at: (845) 677.7300.

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