On August 4, 2019, news sources reported that one individual died and another is in critical condition due to a copper theft attempt at a radio transmitter site in Oklahoma.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s office reported that they were called to the KRMG AM Transmitter Site in Oklahoma the morning of August 4. They found two individuals who appeared to have been electrocuted while attempting to access the building through a conduit. Based on the tools and materials discovered at the site, the sheriff’s office believe they were attempting to steal copper. One of the individuals died, and the other is in critical condition.
E-ISAC Analyst Comment: While this is not a member site or related to the electricity industry, it is a good example of how dangerous copper theft can be – not only when stealing the copper itself, but even in accessing sites that contain copper. It is essential to increase awareness of the dangers of copper theft to assist in prevention and mitigation. A few suggested prevention tips provided by members include:
- Create local groups to address copper theft, such as a coalition to increase public awareness and/or community watches to keep an eye on nearby facilities.
- Discuss and develop alert or reporting systems to make it easier for residents to report suspicious activity.
- Increase community awareness by issuing informational brochures and alerts on copper theft.
- Advocate for stricter laws when dealing with copper theft, such as charging thieves with endanger life to increase penalties, thereby deterring future thefts.
For additional copper theft prevention best practices, please reference the TLP:White Copper Theft Prevention White Paper (119770) developed by the E-ISAC Physical Security Analysis Team in coordination with the Physical Security Advisory Group. This paper aims to provide copper theft prevention best practices and lessons learned that asset owners and operators have implemented successfully in North America.
Recommendation: Be vigilant about suspicious behavior in your area. Please continue sharing this type of activity with the E-ISAC and law enforcement.
The E-ISAC is providing this bulletin for situational awareness. If further information becomes available, it will be added as an update to this post.
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- Admin, 09/27/2019