Rash of daring copper wire thefts hits the US

A rash of perilous copper thefts from live power lines has hit the US, with Los Angeles county alone suffering losses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars since October.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports that in the past six weeks thieves have staged two daring thefts of power lines from water and power towers in LA County, making off with $300,000 and $150,000 worth of copper in each incident.

While lucrative the removal of copper from power lines is extremely hazardous, with seven men in five separate states losing their lives to electrocution since July during attempted thefts.

The thefts also readily cause fires in the dry Californian climate, with thieves recently starting a brush fire in Santa Clarita after hacking at local power lines.

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power says it is currently working with the LA County Sheriff's Department to investigate the recent spate of thefts, warning that the illegal removal of copper from government power lines is a potentially fatal felony.