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COPPER TARGET OF THEFT

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Stolen electrical cable shuts down Nugent river operation

By Phyllis McLaughlin

The Trimble Banner

Nugent Sand Company is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of people responsible for a theft that occurred early Wednesday, March 17, at it’s Carroll County operation on State Hwy. 36, just east of Milton, Ky.

At about 6:15 a.m., Nugent employees discovered the conveyor that moves sand over the highway to the barge dock on the Ohio River wouldn’t start up, said Steve Brierly, health and safety manager for Nugent.

Further investigation revealed that power to a 7,200-volt transformer had been cut off and sections of the large electrical cables that power the conveyor were missing, Brierly said.

Cable also was taken from an unused asphalt-mixing facility, owned by Ohio Valley Asphalt, located on the Nugent property next to the conveyor, he said.

According to Kentucky State Police Post 5, the incident occurred overnight Tuesday at the facility. Troopers responded to the call at 6:44 a.m. Wednesday and remained at the scene until 12:05 p.m. collecting evidence, Trooper Mike Webb, public information officer for the Campbellsburg post, said.

Webb said a KSP artist is working with potential witnesses to provide composite sketches of suspects who may be involved in the crime.

Brierly, a Milton resident and city commissioner, said the thieves apparently took the cables for the copper they contain. He estimated $3,000 to $4,000 worth of the metal was taken in the heist.

Repairs to the conveyor, however, likely will cost $30,000 to $50,000, he said.

“This shut the whole river operation completely down,” Brierly said Friday. He said before the theft occurred, Nugent workers were getting the equipment ready for barge shipments this week to a new client in West Virginia.

Brierly said the culprits must have spent several hours at the site collecting the cable before driving away, probably between 1-4 a.m.

Brierly said the theives had to know something of dealing with electrical cable, but they still were taking an incredible risk. Even with power shut off where it was, he said there are still some cables that were “live.” The cables each conduct 440 volts of electricity when operational.

“Had they cut the wrong one, they’d be dead,” he said. In comparison, household power lines run 110 volts for small appliances and 220 volts for large appliances, such as clothes dryers; contact with either amount can be lethal.