Vandals, thieves hitting more electric utility facilities

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Vandals who cut through two utility poles in Clarence sometime late Monday were the latest in a series of thefts and other incidents involving local utility facilities.

And officials from NYSEG and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office are reminding people just how dangerous these incidents are.

In late October, thieves broke into a NYSEG substation in Springville, and cut what they thought were grounding wires to steal copper. There was no trace of the thieves, and it caused an hours long blackout for hundreds of customers in southern Erie County.

Just like in Springville, several businesses along Transit Road were affected by a power outage late Monday.

Someone cut through two 12-inch utility poles, using a chain saw or other type saw.

The sheriff’s office says they were cut just enough to remain standing, only to be knocked over by a stiff wind at a later time.

NYSEG officials say tampering with their facilities should be taken seriously. And they’re taking steps to prevent future problems.

“We’ve definitely stepped up security at substations in recent years and in many of those facilities we are able to see what’s going on,” said NYSEG spokesman Clayton Ellis. “If they are able to get out alive, we should be able to see who it is and track them down rather quickly.”

Ellis said the company has added more cameras to substations across WNY. And they and the sheriff’s office are asking anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area of Transit Road and Werhle Drive late Monday to contact them. The sheriff’s office tip line is (716) 858-2903.

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