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RMP Substation Vandalism Cuts Power to 6K Customers in Three Cities

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Satelite photo of vandalized Rocky Mountain Power substation near the Jordan River Parkway.

A Rocky Mountain Power Substation in West Jordan was vandalized around 7 am Thursday morning. Nearly 6,000 people were without electricity for 2 hours.

Paul Murphy is a power company spokesman. He says the thief took a huge risk for the cash that might come from selling the copper cable.

“The substations have 138,000 volts going into the station and 12,500 volts coming out so anytime you touch something with that amount of power,” says Murphy, “you’re going to be killed.” 

Murphy says the theft is being investigated by West Jordan Police Department.

“One thing I would ask for the public, if you see anyone suspicious near a substation, to report it to the local law enforcement agencies so this doesn’t happen again.” Murphy says, “I mean it could have been a very serious situation and it was a serious situation for the 6,000 people who were affected by the power outage.”

West Jordan Police Sgt. Dan Roberts says copper has become quite a popular target for theft locally and nationally. He says law enforcement continues to develop better ways of tracking stolen copper even as crooks figure out ways to hide the fact that their copper is stolen. Copper can sell for up to $2.05 per pound at a local scrap metal recycling company.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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