Cracking Down On Copper Thefts

(Memphis) Drive by any farmland and you’ve probably seen the huge contraptions used to water crops.

So many are being stolen, the FBI launched an investigation to stop it.

“We get one fixed and a week later, they hit the one across the road take the wires out,” said farmer Claude Steele.

It’s the same story farmer Shane Burchfield of Dyer County told us about last month – his irrigation system was stripped of all its copper wiring.

“That was a $10,000 loss for them to recoup, maybe a few hundred dollars from a scrap dealer,” said Burchfield

The FBI says it’s tracked dozens of farms with irrigation systems stripped, and sometimes whole crops wiped out.

In almost every case, they say they’ve tracked the stolen copper to just one place.

“One hundred percent of our Mississippi arrests have a connection to Arkansas,” said David Blount, who is with the FBI’s Oxford field office.

You get cash on the spot in Arkansas, instead of a few days wait and background checks in Mississippi.

The FBI says it’s where the crooks go, and Arkansas’ attorney general promised to be a better neighbor and make law similar to Mississippi’s.

“We’re seeing people are finding ways around technology, tech is excellent, but people are finding ways around the law,” said Dustin McDaniel, Arkansas’ Attorney General.

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