Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in solving a reported theft of 5,000 pounds of copper wire from contractors who were working at Westar Energy’s Lawrence Energy Center.
Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s spokesman, said suspects entered the construction site north of Lawrence sometime between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 6:15 a.m. Thursday and stole several items, including hundreds of feet of copper wire and various welding tools and supplies.
Erin La Row, a Westar spokeswoman, said several contractors are at the coal-burning plant, 1250 N 1800 Road, working on environmental upgrades at the plant.
The report lists the victims in the case as Kissick Construction of Kansas City, Mo.; Electrical Corp. of American of Raytown, Mo.; Sterling Boiler and Mechanical of Evansville, Ind.; API Construction Co.; and Westar.
La Row said the thieves were able to cut a chain to a fence and get access to the equipment. She said the contractors incurred a majority of the losses while Westar’s was minimal.
On Friday, several indexes valued copper at slightly more than $4 per pound, making 5,000 pounds worth more than $20,000.
Lewis said sheriff’s officers were still investigating the case Friday and that a cost estimate of the theft was unavailable.
He asked anyone with information to call the sheriff’s office at 785-841-0007 or Douglas County Crime Stoppers at 785-843-TIPS.