The North Bend Eagle


Local pivots stripped of copper by thieves

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 3/2/22

It’s the dead of winter. Area farmers are working in the shop, in the office, talking to dealers, making plans for the upcoming planting season.

Dangling wires are the tell-tale sign them thieves have been to visit. Several farmers in Dodge and Saunders counties have reported the theft of copper wire from their pivots.

But there are others out there looking at the quiet pivots and seeing a chance to make some money by stealing the copper essential to the operation of the pivot.

“What they get out of it and what it costs to replace it are no way near,” Jeff Mitties said. “It cost way more to replace and repair the pivot.”

Chad Ruzicka said Ruzicka Farms had six spans of one pivot stripped of copper in a field about four miles from their shop.

“We don’t go up that way this time of year,” Ruzicka said. “Unless you are looking for it, you don’t see it, unless they have left wires hanging.”

Thieves stripped the copper off the six spans starting from the center of Ruzickas’ pivot. They did not touch the wire in the last span or on the corner.

“We have a pivot monitor system,” Ruzicka said, “but it doesn’t detect wire thief. The last update was Jan. 1. It doesn’t work without the (copper) wires, but we’re not looking at it this time of year.”

Maynard Flamme had copper wire removed from half of a brand new pivot.

“They left the first three towers alone,” Flamme said. “They went further into the field and stripped the inner four spans. It’ll cost $5,000 to replace the wire.”

Flamme found the stripped pivot Friday when he went out to pick up some iron from the pivot he had torn down there. He reported it to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.

Mitties’ pivot is in the field next to Flamme’s, and Flamme noticed a wire hanging down and called Mitties. Mitties found a couple of towers with the copper wire pulled. Power was cut to the generator and the battery cable and wires to the alternator engine were gone.

“They stripped the engine of wire but left the battery there,” Mitties said. “It was cut clean. They knew what they were doing. They didn’t even try to take the battery after they cut the wires off.”

Flamme said after he talked to a DCSO deputy he drove around and checked his other pivots and looked at other farmer’s fields also. He didn’t see any other hanging wires. The deputy told Flamme there was a farmer in the Hooper area who reported copper wire theft. Multiple thefts have also been reported in Saunders County.

Dodge County Sheriff’s Department asks that anyone seeing any suspicious activity or vehicles to please report to them at 402-652-3535 or 402-727-2700.


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