Thieves Cut Down Utility Pole, Steal PPL Transformer

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BUTLER TOWNSHIP – Utility officials in Luzerne County said someone used a chainsaw to cut down a pole and steal a transformer near Drums.

Butler Township Police said the discovery was made earlier this week, on private property between Nescopeck State Park and the Beech Mountain Lakes Development on Route 309.

According to a PPL Electric Utilities Spokesperson, the pole that was cut down had de-energized lines, but it was nearby other power lines that were carrying electricity to nearby homes and businesses.

An angler fishing for trout in Nescopeck Creek near the power lines told Newswatch 16 that he was shocked to hear that a crook, or several crooks, targeted a power pole.

"Its high tension, so you know what you're fooling with. Once you touch those wires, you're done. It's pretty scary,” said Jack Bittorf.

Customers eating lunch inside nearby Mary’s Family Restaurant said they were surprised to hear about the daring theft.

“Too bad it wasn`t the wrong wire that they cut or something,” said Dee Culp. “It’s just terrible that people are doing this."

PPL said the crime was particularly dangerous and that people should use caution around utility poles and assume that all electric lines are live.

"I would go with really lucky. I don't think people, the average person, would know which lines are energized or de-energized,” said Jim Marinko of Sugarload Township.

Anyone with information on the utility pole vandalism and transformer theft is urged to call Butler Township Police at 570-788-3230.