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Tulsa Copper Thieves Targeting Transformers

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Harley Rowland probably wasn't very happy to be in handcuffs but police say he's lucky that's all that happened to him. Harley Rowland probably wasn't very happy to be in handcuffs but police say he's lucky that's all that happened to him.
There are thousands of pad mounted transformers in commercial and residential areas and most everything inside them is energized. There are thousands of pad mounted transformers in commercial and residential areas and most everything inside them is energized.
Transformers have been harder for thieves to break into in the past because they've been up on poles, but they are now mounted on the ground. Transformers have been harder for thieves to break into in the past because they've been up on poles, but they are now mounted on the ground.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Authorities say the latest target for copper thieves are small transformers that you've probably seen in your neighborhood.

A pad mounted transformer is a green box and has an average of 13,000 volts running through it. Police say thieves are risking death for a small piece of copper.

Harley Rowland probably wasn't very happy to be in handcuffs but police say he's lucky that's all that happened to him.

They say they found him inside a Tulsa business stealing copper wire. The owner knew something was up when his alarm company told him the power had been cut.

Since he's had copper thieves there before, he called the cops.

They say Rowland had bags filled with burglary tools and several strands of cut copper wire. Police say Rowland was wearing rubber gloves in hopes he wouldn't get shocked, but PSO says that's nowhere near enough to do the job.

"Our lineman and line workers wear approved rubber gloves and use approved hot sticks just to pull a fuse out of a transformer," said Stan Whiteford, PSO Spokesperson.

There are thousands of pad mounted transformers in commercial and residential areas and most everything inside them is energized.

"These have about 13,000 volts of electricity coming into them and there's very little copper inside that's accessible and not energized. Most of the cabling inside of that is aluminum," Whiteford explained.

Transformers have been harder for thieves to break into in the past because they've been up on poles, but they are now mounted on the ground.

A tampered transformer can be deadly for the next person who comes in contact with it and cutting electricity can cause serious situations for people.

People are encouraged to secure their pad mounted transformers the best they can, even point surveillance cameras in that direction and if you see anyone stealing copper from anyplace, call police.

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