This year's cotton crop could be affected by more than just heat and rain. The Lubbock County Sheriff's Office says copper wire theft on irrigation pivots is on the rise.
Potential rows of socks and shirts, possibly now damaged. "I came out here to get my pivot going," Cotton farmer Damon Cooley, said. However, it would not move. Cooley soon learned he was a victim of copper wire theft.
"It happened to us either Sunday night or early Monday morning of last week," Cooley said. Cooley farms cotton at Alexander Farmers just outside of Idalou.
"There's these ladders on these towers and they take bolt cutters and they just clip the wire." He says thieves stole nearly 400-feet of copper wire and cost him thousands of dollars.
"They can really sell it at a scrap yard for about 10% of what is it to me. They are getting maybe $200 to $300, but it is costing me $2,000 to $3,000."
"We're starting to see a lot more of that and it has to do with people just trying to sell it for money," Major Don Carter said. So far this year, Major Carter says the sheriff's office has received just under 20 copper wire theft reports, and about half a dozen in July.
"We look for those areas where that copper could potently be going and where it's going to be sold, where they may be burning it off because they got too burn off the insulation to make it something they can sell," Major Carter said.
Since the theft, the water is back on. However, Cooley's concern now is possible damage to his crop. "When it's 100 degrees outside and you are not watering you could probably lose up to half a bale of cotton and that's incalculable. That could be $15,000 to $20,000 on a 90-acre pivot like this one," Cooley said.
Major Carter says in many cases due to the amount of cooper wire stolen suspects could face felony charges.
To report a possible copper wire theft call the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, at 775-1480.
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