Arlington copper wire theft under investigation

ARLINGTON — An Oregon-based power administration has offered up to a $25,000 reward for information on the theft of copper wire from an Arlington substation.

Staff members from the Bonneville Power Administration found during a Dec. 29 inspection that thieves had made out with more than 30 feet of wire at a rural substation in the 17400 block of Burn Road.

Crews were apparently inspecting fiber-optic lines when they saw that the substation's fence had been cut. Components from the substation were also left laying inside and outside of the station's gate, said Michael Milstein, spokesman for the administration.

Milstein said that somebody had most likely entered the substation sometime in the week leading up to Dec. 29. Crews had last checked on the substation on Dec. 22, he said.

The cost of the stolen wire was not available.

The electric utility, which operates a transmission grid compromising more than 15,000 miles of lines in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, is working with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Department to investigate the case.

"We're hoping that somebody driving by saw something," Milstein said.

The reward will be paid out for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved, according to a release by the administration.

"The culprits are not only damaging the electrical infrastructure that keeps our lights on, but they're also forcing electric ratepayers to cover the costs of this kind of senseless damage and theft," said Henry Rosales, physical security specialist for the utility.

The Bonneville Power Administration can be reached by calling the Crime Witness Hotline at 800-437-2744.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Department can be contacted by calling 425-388-3393.

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