Nov. 7, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - RCMP investigations into copper thefts at NB Power properties have led to three arrests, and more are expected.
"A collaboration among the public, the RCMP's Caraquet and Tracadie-Sheila detachments and the District 8 street crime unit led to the solving of a break and enter at an NB Power installation in Sainte-Rose in September 2008," said Insp. Roch Fortin, commander of RCMP's District 8. "Three people are facing charges, and other arrests could follow in relation to other events at NB Power sites."
Copper theft has been an issue across North America and has led to serious injuries and deaths. In May 2007, a person died while trying to steal copper in St. Stephen.
"We are very pleased that the seriousness of these crimes is being recognized and that arrests have been made," said Duff Boyd, director of health, safety and security for NB Power. "Copper theft is extremely dangerous and compromises the safety of our employees, first responders and the public. It is our hope that arrests such as these demonstrate the implications of this criminal activity and will prevent future occurrences."
Copper theft can lead to loss of electricity to essential services such as hospitals and 911. An example occurred in Stanley when criminals stole copper from a substation. This resulted in the loss of power to homes and businesses and the interruption of 911 services for several hours.
"Electricity is part of our daily lives, so we don't often think about the safety threats that it can pose when it is not handled by experienced professionals," said Boyd. "Tampering with equipment in our substations can lead to deadly consequences for the criminal and for anyone near the facility, which could include an employee entering the substation to conduct maintenance or a child who may be playing in the area."
For these reasons, NB Power will offer up to an extra $5,000 for tips leading to arrests made in copper thefts from the utility's property and/or facilities.
NB Power continues to work with the RCMP and Crime Stoppers and asks the public to report any suspicious behaviour by calling 911 and/or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Heather MacLean, manager, media relations, NB Power, 506-458-6618, e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org; Insp. Roch Fortin, District 8 commander, RCMP, 506-393-3000.