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Copper theft disrupts power for thousands in Cullman County

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Thousands of people in Cullman County were left in the dark this morning after hundreds of feet of cooper was stolen from a power sub-station.

“We just knew all of a sudden the power went out at school and we didn’t know if it was just here or all the schools so we called all the other administrators,” explained West Point High School Principal Heith Yearwood.

Yearwood says power was out about 90 minutes at all of West Point's schools. He says his teachers adapted well.

“They just continued on with their lessons,” Yearwood explained. “A lot of them that had technology going on was using chrome books and different things. They had to make adjustments of course.”

The school was one of 3,000 Cullman Electric Cooperative customers impacted, mostly in the West Point area.

Communications Manager Brian Lacy says the electric company began getting calls about voltage issues Friday morning. They went to the substation to investigate, and found two to three hundred feet of copper wiring missing.

Crews had to turn off power to make necessary repairs, but they quickly had power restored 90 minutes later.

“It’s incredibly dangerous and maybe more surprising to someone didn’t get seriously hurt doing this,” Lacy said. “When you’re talking about the amount of electricity running through a substation could easily, easily kill someone instantly if you made contact with that. Obviously, they knew what they were doing.”

Principal Yearwood says his team took advantage of the power outage. They turned it into a positive by taking the time to check emergency lights and exits while power was down.

“I hope they find who did it but I appreciate them getting the power back on as quick as they did,” Yearwood said.

The Cullman County's Sheriff Office is investigating. They ask anyone with information to call the sheriff's office and report it.

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