GAMBRILLS, Md. (WJZ) — Caught on camera: A copper thief strikes a BGE substation in Anne Arundel County. It’s a dangerous, growing problem for BGE.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the crime.

The latest theft happened Thursday at a substation in Gambrills. It’s not the first time the facility has been targeted.

Police are looking for the man who they say took a dangerous and sometimes deadly risk. Investigators say he cut through a fence at a high-voltage BGE substation on Waugh Chapel Road on Thursday–a facility that requires workers to wear flame-retardant suits at all times.

“Many times those thieves can be severely or even fatally injured,” said Rachael Lighty, BGE spokesperson.

Investigators say the man stole various amounts of copper and got away. It’s not the first theft case there.

BGE has become a prime target for copper thieves, with substations — even power poles — being hit.

“We have cameras in many of our locations and we take other proactive steps and work very closely with local law enforcement to make sure we are protecting our infrastructure,” said Lighty.

The FBI has named copper theft a threat to critical infrastructure.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, between 2006 and 2008 nearly 14,000 metal thefts were reported. That number skyrocketed to more than 25,000 thefts between 2009 and 2012. Ninety-six percent of the thefts involved copper.

That’s why officials want this latest suspect caught.

BGE has started painting its copper wiring green so scrap metal dealers will know it was stolen from the utility.

According to the Department of Energy, copper theft causes $1 billion in losses for U.S. businesses every year.

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