BUTLER TWP. — A daring thief cut down a utility pole and swiped an electrical transformer in Beech Mountain Lake, a private residential development along state Route 309, township police said Thursday.
Police said the PPL Utilities pole was recently found cut and the transformer stolen. The pole was found near the lake’s spillway in a wooded area.
Electrical and utility wires were attached to the pole when it was cut, police said.
“Anytime anyone tampers with our facilities, they put themselves at significant risk of severe injury or death,” said PPL spokesman Rich Beasley. “We warn people they could end up facing criminal charges, but perhaps worse, the loss of their own life.”
Beasley said the cables going to the transformer were “not energized and temporarily out of service.” No customers lost electrical power in Beech Mountain Lake.
In June 2011, a Kingston man was found dead near a vacant building in the Crestwood Industrial Park after Wright Township police said he used a ladder to try to steal electrical cable and touched a live 12,000-volt power line. Cutting tools were found near the body, police said.
In August 2011, five people were involved in the theft of copper cables and transmission lines from the WVIA-TV tower on Penobscot Mountain, Hanover Township. The thieves climbed the 800-foot tower and cut 130 feet of the cables, which caused about $190,000 in damage, according to court records.