When the region’s prescription drug addiction really took hold more than a decade ago, few of us could have predicted the myriad of other issues that would come along for the ride, such as metal theft in particular. Now this has become an increasingly alarming trend in our region as thefts like these continue to cause potential issues for number of people.
Every week, it seems, we hear new reports of thieves cutting telephone lines to steal the copper those lines contain. There is an obvious risk here to hundreds of people in our communities who depend on telephone service in the case of emergencies. One person was arrested here in Hazard earlier this month on this very charge, after police reported finding strands of wire cut from a utility line next to a truck where the man was located.
Yet another disturbing instance arose yesterday as WYMT-TV in Hazard reported that thieves stole a portion of a metal culvert next to a road in Flat Gap. Perry County Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble told the television station that it would cost $10,000 to repair, but a more alarming issue was also that this area of Flat Gap instantly became a danger to the people who use that road. Rightly so, Noble added, the county would not tolerate this behavior.
But the sad fact is that right now, according to the story, police have no leads in the case, and while officials are hoping to bring this thief or thieves to justice, it may not happen without help from the public.
Theft of any kind is reprehensible, but in this case, as in cases of cut utility lines, the thieves have needlessly placed people in danger, likely for a few dollars in scrap to purchase pills or some other drug. Additionally, this theft likely took some time and some manual labor to accomplish, and getting a real job would have probably taken less effort.
Ideally, this kind of theft will simply stop someday, and people will have continuous service on their telephones and won’t have to look out for missing culverts. We certainly aren’t there yet, as these cases prove, and that’s a sad fact to admit.
— The Hazard Herald