Farmers become prime targets for copper thieves - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Farmers become prime targets for copper thieves

(WMC-TV) – Copper thieves struck the same Lauderdale County man's farm multiple times. But during their most recent visit, the farmer had something waiting for them.

Eugene Pugh and his son work hard in an attempt to take care of their thousands of dollars worth of farming equipment. They say after thieves ripped the copper wiring from their irrigation system for the third time, they decided to do something about it.

"It's beginning to get worrisome with all this theft around here," said Lauderdale County farmer Eugene Pugh.

Pugh says it may be off season for farmers across the Mid-South, but it is a prime time for thieves. He says copper theft has become a real problem on his 10,000 acres.

This past Saturday, thieves cut the electric wire on top of one of his irrigation systems. But, this time, they did not get away with the copper wire inside, thanks to a small monitoring device called a WireRat.

The WireRat is mounted on top of the irrigation system.

"When they cut it, it broke that electric charge and they [his son and nephew] got here before the could do any damage," explained Pugh.

The WireRat sent a text message to his son's phone saying a theft was taking place. He then drove down to the farm and held the three young thieves at gunpoint until the sheriff arrived.

"We're looking at probably some $11,000 to $11,500 to replace the wire," added Pugh.

In December, Pugh says a similar incident happened at his farm in Dyer County.

In addition to the WireRat, local farmers are trying to band together to create what they call a farm watch, similar to neighborhood watch, to keep thieves away.

To find out more about the WireRat theft device, click here:

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