Imperial Irrigation District officials asked the public Wednesday to be on the lookout for suspicious-looking cars or people near agency facilities in Riverside and Imperial counties in the wake of multiple copper-stealing attempts reported recently.

“Doing so could save a life, prevent power disruptions and helps keep utility costs low,” said Mike Beltran, revenue protection coordinator for the district.

The agency is investigating multiple instances where people broke into agency substations and generation facilities “in an attempt to remove copper wire and vandalize equipment,” the district said, although additional information about the break-ins was not shared.

According to officials, attempting to steal copper at these facilities is a dangerous activity that could result in death. It could also spur power outages and expensive repairs that ultimately affect rate payers.

In response, IID has stepped up security at its facilities by adding more patrols, motion-activated lighting, new coding on copper wire and a video-alarm system that immediately contacts authorities when a break-in attempt is suspected.

IID officials are asking the public to contact the Riverside and Imperial sheriff’s departments with reports of suspicious activity, or the district at 760-482-3688.

The district provides water and electricity to the Imperial Valley and power to the eastern part of the Coachella Valley.

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