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AT&T Donates $40K to Stop Copper Theft in California County

The telecommunications company will be donating funds to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office to combat the ongoing incidents of copper theft. The grant will cover the purchase of new technology to assist deputies with the effort.

(TNS) — A telecommunications giant will be donating funds to county law enforcement this week in an effort to combat the ongoing incidents of copper theft occurring in local communities.

San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow and San Joaquin County Supervisor Steve Ding will accept a $40,000 grant from AT&T on Thursday morning.

The grant will allow the Sheriff's Office to purchase technology to assist in putting an end to copper wire theft throughout the county.

"Copper wire theft is a serious matter and affects public safety and the community at large," Withrow said. "This year, San Joaquin County has been ground zero for copper wire theft and fiber optic cable damage."

The sheriff added that since last April, his office's Community Revitalization Unit has been working non-stop to track down and arrest those who continue to steal copper wire.

The CRU is part of the Sheriff's Special Services Division and identifies and addresses community reported blight-related incidents within the county, including homeless outreach, abatement, illegal dumping, and other quality of life issues.

This year, some 27 people have been identified and arrested for their roles in stealing copper wire and fiber optic cables, which are critical to the county's infrastructure, officials said.

Ding said his supervisorial district, which includes Lodi, Woodbridge, Lockeford, Clements, Thornton and Acampo, experienced an unprecedented amount of thefts in 2023.

"I want to thank the CRU team and Sheriff Withrow for their commitment to investigate and pursue these criminals. They defend our residents and property against these destructive acts," he said. "With this investment from AT&T, we will be able to further protect private property owners in San Joaquin County against this threat."

At an April 27 press conference at the Lodi Grape Festival grounds, Ding and Withrow came together with AT&T to announce a $5,000 reward valid through May 1 for information leading to the arrests of copper wire thieves.

At that time, Ding said 48 copper wire lines had been cut in his district over a four-day period.

In addition, AT&T said that removing copper wire from the county's infrastructure could result in law enforcement unable to receive emergency calls or respond to critical incidents, endangering public safety.

Representatives from AT&T will present a check to Ding and Withrow on Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. at The Fruit Bowl, 8767 E Waterloo Road in Stockton.

The Fruit Bowl has been forced to shut down multiple times in the last 6 to 8 months due to the high volume of copper wire thefts, officials said.

©2023 the Lodi News-Sentinel, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.