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Theft of copper wire believed to have caused power outage

Posted at 11:20 PM, Feb 16, 2015

GRAND JUNCTION, Mich. -- Police say three men may be responsible for stealing copper wire that caused a power outage last Thursday near Grand Junction. The trio was caught on camera posing as Consumer Energy workers just before the theft that left families in the cold.

Consumer's Energy says they didn't realize a theft had taken place until a handful of customers in Grand Junction were out of power. When they went out to make repairs, they realized a copper line was cut that they say was never authorized.

Now there's a $10,000 reward in the case to find who is responsible.  The surveillance video shows three men that appear to be making a harmless pit stop. They are wearing hard hats and driving a bucket truck as if they are heading out on their next job.

The surveillance video was taken at Mr. Grocery, a convenient store on County Road in Grand Junction. The power outage began around 4:15 p.m. shortly after the group left the store.

Authorities and Consumer’s Energy say the video is evidence of what they call an apparent ‘scrap metal theft.'

“We realized about 300 feet worth of copper wire had been cut off the poles in this area,” said Roger Morgenstern of Consumer’s Energy.

Mr. Grocery owner Jon Daily posted on the store's Facebook page screen shots of the men from the surveillance video. Daily says he talked to them before they left.

The apparrent heist, cutting live electric wire, is very dangerous, according to Consumer’s Energy.

Officials say whoever did this had experience. “They must have known what they were doing, without getting themselves killed,” said Morgenstern.

About 300 feet of the copper wire was taken, worth about $300. Consumer’s energy says that's pocket change for what they are offering as a reward to find who’s responsible.

“Consumer’s Energy is offering a reward of up to $10,000.”

Michigan State Police say they’ve made contact with least one of the three men in the surveillance video. The surveillance video has gotten more than 10,000 views online.

Consumer’s Energy is hoping those clicks and the reward lead to more tips and answers.