Copper theft has become so rampant across the nation that 20 states, including Hawaii, passed new copper theft legislation in 2007. You know it's serious when copper thieves cause the Friday Night Lights to go dark, as reported in The Advertiser's front page story on the cancellation of the Campbell vs. Roosevelt high school football game.
Hawaii's law, HB1246 , makes copper theft a class C felony and requires scrap sellers to disclose where and from whom they obtained the metal. Alabama bans the sale of scrap copper over $100, while Washington makes it a misdemeanor for any scrap dealer to do business with those who have been convicted of theft or illegal drug usage. The 20 states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Virginia. The problem of copper cable theft is so serious in Las Vegas that telecom carrier Embarq Corp, a spin-off of Sprint Nextel, is offering $5000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone trying to steal their copper cables. So far this year, the company has spent $400,000 in Las Vegas repairing severed cable lines.