Lights Out! Metal Theft At AACO Substation Shorts Power

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copper theft
Jessica Kartalija 80x80 Jessica Kartalija
Jessica Kartalija joined the Eyewitness News team during the summer of...
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LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — Several thousand Marylanders woke up without power Sunday morning.

Jessica Kartalija explains it had nothing to do with the weather, but a metal thief in Anne Arundel County.

Signs warn of danger, but it wasn’t enough to stop a thief in Linthicum.

“A thief went into one of the substations, took some copper wiring that was attached to some other high power, high voltage things that caused major power outages in the area,” said Lt. T.J. Smith, Anne Arundel County Police.

More than 6,000 people were without power Sunday morning, including homes along Nursery Road and Circle Drive in Glen Burnie.

The Light Rail to BWI had to be shut down because of the outages.

“It causes an inconvenience to a number of people because the thief, more likely than not, is probably using that money to go buy drugs. That’s what a lot of our metal thieves are into,” Lt. Smith said.

Thieves take copper from vacant homes and houses and businesses under construction as well as light poles, train tracks and copper transmission lines.

At the BGE substations, they go after grounding wire and cable and wire from the vehicles. Often, the damage left behind is more expensive than the copper itself.

“Any scrap dealer, anybody who buys copper wiring: this person caused a major inconvenience and we want to get him IDed. So hopefully, we can get some tips in so we can figure this case out,” said Lt. Smith.

Police say the suspect likely got away with several thousand dollars worth of copper wiring, but was likely burned.

“We believe the thief could have suffered some injuries to his body as a result of this theft,” said Lt. Smith.

There are more than a dozen scrap recyclers in Baltimore County. They do thousands of transactions a month.

Power was out for about five hours Sunday morning.

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