Copper thieves targeting phone lines are wreaking havoc on one Anderson neighborhood, according to reports from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.
Lines were cut 7 times this month alone and neighbors who rely on their landline say they want it to stop.
“I get up and the first thing I do is look at my phone if it says phone line out,” said Peggy Henderson Mills.
Mills was frustrated the first time her phone line went dead at home, but 7 times makes her livid.
She says she along with more than one hundred people and businesses have been affected near Camellia Drive. The product of the thieves’ handy work still swings in the wind, while temporary gray wires line the ground.
“What are we doing about it,” Mill’s questioned, Thursday.
7 News reporter, Addie Hampton, helped her get answers by setting up a meeting with Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper and County Administrator Rusty Burns.
“The 911 emergency lines get knocked out to anyone who is dependent on a landline,” explained Mills in that meeting.
Sheriff Skipper said they are aware and working hard to stop it, but Burns added that it might be easier for thieves to get away with this kind of theft than we think.
“They have a [copper theft] law in Georgia that is much stricter than the law we have in South Carolina,” Burns explained.
While both Georgia and South Carolina require permits registered with sheriff’s offices to sell copper at designated places, a Georgia law enacted in 2012 makes it illegal to buy copper wire that’s been burned or heated to conceal identity.
“Somebody is buying this stolen product. They’re not doing this just for mischief,” said Burns.
Burns said it’s time to take this back to the state legislature and tighten up the laws.
“It’s not happening in Georgia and the last time I checked the only thing that separated South Carolina and Georgia was the river,” said Burns.
It’s a sentiment shared by Mills, but, for now, she’s just hoping her phone stays working.
If you know anything about these thefts, you’re urged to call the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.