Thieves Strip Pivots In Lincoln County

(KNOP News 2 of North Platte, NE: By Kent Winder)

The high copper and metal prices are resulting in a rise of thefts from center pivots. Thieves are stripping copper wiring and other scrap metal from the center pivots.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is urging farmers to protect themselves against the thieves. Corner Pivots, Linear Pivots, and Corner like the ones seen rural Lincoln County are proving to be too good to pass up for thieves.

Theft of center pivot copper wire is at the highest level Lincoln County Sheriff Jerome Kramer has witnessed in his over 30-year of employment with the sheriff’s office. The high price of copper and scrap metal is now making it worthwhile for thieves to stop the material from the pivot irrigation systems.

“The price of copper and all scrap iron is high right now,” says Kramer, “It is easy for the thieves because a lot of the scrap iron is on abandoned farms. The center pivots are an easy target to because a lot of times there are onto houses around so people can spend a lot of time doing what they need to do.”

In just over a month the sheriff’s office is reported thefts from four different center pivots.

Kramer says in some cases thieves are stealing as much as 16-hundred feet of wire from one pivot irrigation system.

But he says Lincoln County is not the only area experiencing these types of thefts.

“It is all around the state as far as thefts of salvage steel and copper wire. They are having trouble in the farming community and Dawson County has a string going on right now that we are working with them on.”

Kramer says there are steps farmers and ranchers can take to protect their center pivots.

“You should try to pull your corner pivot, linear pivot, and center pivot so it is not near a county road,” adds Kramer, “Take a little more time and effort to conceal your stuff. Most of the bundles of wire that are on the pivot are clipped on with a little piece of metal. You should take a little time and put on some better clamps around the pipe.”

When people steal copper wiring from a center pivot irrigation system it can cost a farmer as much as 10-thosuand dollars to fix.

Kramer says that is why it is so important to report any suspicious activity so they can prevent the thefts from becoming a bigger problem.