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High-Voltage Fences For Zapping Would-Be Copper Thieves

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the Cu-on-the-other-side dept.

Crime 363

coondoggie writes "It may be a gimmick or the ultimate answer, but a California city this week okay-ed a draft ordinance that would let businesses install 7,000-volt electric fences to protect sites from rampant copper thieves. As reported by the Sacramento CBS station, the reaction from one business owner to the ordinance says it all: 'It'll be a little fun to watch one of these guys get electrocuted holding my fence trying to rob me.'"

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363 comments

Yikes... (5, Funny)

SIGBUS (8236) | about a year ago | (#42060195)

Coming soon: "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence" championship edition.

Re:Yikes... (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42060425)

When I was ten (half a century ago), by buddy actually did piss on an electric fence. Poor kid lay there screaming for ten minutes, but there was no permanent damage. I think this is an excellent idea; farmers and ranchers have been using electric fences to keep their animals in for decades, and I have yet to hear of anyone being harmed.

Re:Yikes... (-1, Troll)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | about a year ago | (#42060589)

Just so you know, Mythbusters busted that myth.

But keep telling the story.

Re:Yikes... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060643)

They tested pissing on an electric subway rail and that failed. They then tried the electric fence and it did work. Perhaps you should have watch the WHOLE episode before commenting here.

Re:Yikes... (1)

emho24 (2531820) | about a year ago | (#42060687)

Then mythbusters is wrong or tested wrong. I pissed on an electric fence at my grandads house when I was little, it was hidden in the tall weeds. It hurts.

Re:Yikes... (1)

Roachie (2180772) | about a year ago | (#42060939)

Yea, they busted the story about the guy who shot his balls off by sticking a .22 in the fuse box of his truck. You can electrically fire rimfire bullets. The story is true( let me introduce you to google ) and I have seen it done( the shooting bullets part, I have never seen anyone get shot in the sack )

These guys a smart, witty and fun to watch. Absolute authorities... not so much.

Re:Yikes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060955)

Just so you know, Mythbusters busted that myth.

But keep telling the story.

Mythbusters is to science what the morning comics are to literature. They only thing they p*ss on is the scientific method itself. The show should be renamed "Leaping to Conclusions Based on Incomplete Data With Special Effects and Explosions", but I guess that's not as catchy. That supposedly intelligent people use an episode of Mythbusters as proof in any argument makes me weep for our education system.

Re:Yikes... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060619)

I call total BS on this. I guess you don't watch Mythbusters, do you, liar?

If they want to stop the copper thieves... (5, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#42060203)

Start making the recyclers who pay cash for copper keep records and start prosecuting them for receiving stolen goods.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#42060261)

This is not an unreasonable solution, but you'll hear it decried as "punishing small business owners", and "deterring recycling". The fact that these aren't really true won't keep opportunistic politicians at bay.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (4, Insightful)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about a year ago | (#42060367)

Yeah, because regulatory compliance and associated paperwork, government inspections, lawsuits, and penalties impose 0 costs on businesses.

And since everyone wants to be recorded in government registries, because everyone wants to fill in forms, because everyone is literate enough to fill in forms, it won't deter anyone from recycling either.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (5, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | about a year ago | (#42060453)

I am so glad that systems need to be perfect and costs need to be 0 before we're willing to accept them.

Try it for a week and see if it's acceptable (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#42060769)

For every grocery item you buy, fill out a form with it's UPC code, expiration date, etc. Make a copy of your ID for each. Then do a forensic examination on each piece of trash so that you can distinguish between one milk carton and another. Do that for a week, then tell us if it's acceptable to you to spend your days doing that.

Re:Try it for a week and see if it's acceptable (2)

Improv (2467) | about a year ago | (#42060859)

I am not a business. Businesses need accountants and legal help as part of their ordinary existence, and they're artificial entities to begin with.

Re:Try it for a week and see if it's acceptable (2)

nschubach (922175) | about a year ago | (#42060953)

But you could be an electrician who stocks clippings and removed lines for recycling later. Are you stating that the Electrician should have to register every house they remove wire from... even if it is just a handful?

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#42060979)

I like how he overlooks the cost to the companies, people, and governments having copper stolen.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060479)

Nobody's say it is free, just that it isn't a punishment or generally deterring recycling.

But hey, let's consider the alternative posited here, electrocutions.

How much trouble is it to deal with a dead body?

Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060547)

The costs to business that illeagaly buy/fence copper? Maybe it might be an extra cost to legitimate copper recyclers but the actual ones forcing government to act is those copper recyclers that buy such stolen copper. Keeping records is no more than what is expected from pawn shops. As an additional part of the sugested record keeping, I would also demand a fingerprint of any seller. That way we could also get evidence of the thief as well as his fence.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (5, Interesting)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42060625)

When was the last time illiterate citizens legally obtained large amounts of copper they want to swap for untraceable cash?

When was the last time someone not recorded in government registries was in the USA? hint: drivers license, social security number, birth certificate, travel/work visa... I can only think of illegal immigrants.

Last time I dumped a bunch of copper pipe at a local scrap metal place I had to produce photo ID and fill out a form. I don't live in USA though.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (1)

sco08y (615665) | about a year ago | (#42060637)

Yeah, because regulatory compliance and associated paperwork, government inspections, lawsuits, and penalties impose 0 costs on businesses.

And since everyone wants to be recorded in government registries, because everyone wants to fill in forms, because everyone is literate enough to fill in forms, it won't deter anyone from recycling either.

Preventing theft and fraud, though, is a vital part of a free market and an entirely legitimate role of government. There is a cost, certainly, but the cost of crime* is invariably far higher than the cost of policing.

* where said crimes are actual crimes with real victims and damages suffered.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (1, Insightful)

west (39918) | about a year ago | (#42060991)

> but the cost of crime* is invariably far higher than the cost of policing.

Homeland Security

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about a year ago | (#42060849)

Tough shit, they had their chance for the zero regulation solution but their greed and willful ignorance is putting and end to that.

It was just easy money for them -- the toothless loser driving the '98 Grand Am turning in a few hundred feet of brand-new 00 wire was perfectly willing to accept 30% below melt value for the wire and the owner was happy to resell it as new to the "ask no questions" contractor at a 15% discount below new retail.

If you want it no regulation, that's fine, but let's make the punishments if you get caught:

1) Accepting stolen merchandise -- clerk goes to jail
2) Business is fined 3x the metal value and the metal or its on-site equivilent is confiscated
3) Three violations in a 12 month period and you lose your recycling license for six months
4) Two loss of license violations? Company, its owners and officers are barred from engaging in commercial metal recycling for 10 years.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#42060945)

Oh yeah, it would be so hard. I guess that's why every pawn shop manages to survive even though the keep sale records.

All you do is take a picture of the person bring into the copper. Or copy an ID.
Cheap and quick to do. If this means the price I get for recycling goes don a dollar a ton for copper,, the so be it.

If you don't want to participate in society, then you aren't getting the benefits of society.
Someone shows up with pounds of copper material, keeping track of where they get it is reasonable.

Or do you think tons of stolen copper has no cost on business and government?

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (3, Informative)

gewalker (57809) | about a year ago | (#42060807)

They passed this in Indiana some years ago, the newspaper generally endorsed it, and the public mostly thought it was a good idea (after all they were not recycling copper frequently, nor were they in the salvage business). I think it is pretty much "sign here" and snap a picture. This did not stop copper theft either.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (3, Informative)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#42060325)

This. Most metal salesmen have a pretty good idea which piece of trash came from illegal sources they just turn a blind eye because it's more profit for them.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060395)

That is the law in my state. Businesses not following it was rampant. But then, the state police started doing stings where they do things like bring multiple faucets or huge amounts of piping and the like. All it takes is one bust and you lose your recycling license for the business and the employee who doesn't report the suspicious transaction can be charged as well, which means they can be unhireable in that business and many others with the felony conviction. Lets just say that that cut into the problem quite a bit in the major cities.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060405)

Most places already do this to comply with local laws. Crooks are good at getting around it (and maybe the guy working the counter at the scrap yard doesn't care).

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#42060463)

So how is the scrap yard going to match a pile of crumpled up copper pipes back to what was inside your house?

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060913)

Well, if a police get a report of a house that had a crapton of copper tubing ripped out of the walls and floors, and then discover a crapload of copper tubing just happened to be sold to a scrap dealer shortly thereafter... it's not exactly a convoluted path to draw a line between the two. And given how much damage and work you'd need to do to rip tubing out of walls and floors, they can probably find some kind of evidence directly linking to the two. Hell, multiple identically-angled cuts from the identical grade copper scrap and what's left in the house is probably a good start, never mind any DNA evidence the thief left at the scene (hair, blood if he cut himself, skin, etc).

Honestly, it would be trivially easy to link a thief with stolen scrap metal, provided the scrap dealer actually keeps fucking records like he's legally supposed to as is.

And I happen to work in an industry where I know exactly what type of paperwork the scrap dealer needs, and for how long he legally needs to keep it (note: it's a bit longer than a few days. Try years.)

Shut down or heavily fine a few scrap yards for buying illegal scrap without keeping proper documentation, and the rest will require valid photo ID to sell to them and have video surveillance of the sale counter before the end of the day.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (0, Troll)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#42060465)

Start making the recyclers who pay cash for copper keep records and start prosecuting them for receiving stolen goods.

So you would punish the innocent with more paperwork and regulations along with the guilty? That doesn't sound very appealing to me. Besides, it's not like thieves wouldn't lie anyways, which would give the recyclers who take stolen goods plausible deniability.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060661)

can't really call them any more "innocent", than the guy who buys a plasma at a bar or from the back of a truck at half price

it is simple just require that all money be paid to an account, creditcard etc. so it can be traced

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (1)

firewrought (36952) | about a year ago | (#42060527)

Start making the recyclers who pay cash for copper keep records and start prosecuting them for receiving stolen goods.

That's what other states have done [ect.coop], but the fence is more amusing.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060613)

had a case here where thieves were emptied a graveyards for brass letters from the gravestones and iron fences etc. it wasn't until the second or third time they did it
the scrap dealer called the police because he wondered where they got it from

Tried it here, doesn't work. Simple reason. (3, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#42060685)

Where I live that is one of many regulations related metal recycling. It hasn't worked. There is no way to identify a particular piece of pipe, wiring etc. and say it came from some specific location. Even where you COULD match it up, that would require forensic inspection of every piece of metal trash, then comparing each to all thefts. We're talking about vast amounts of scrap, trash, every day, not the occasional mysterious body evey few years, so the forensics to match them aren't anywhere near feasible.

Re:Tried it here, doesn't work. Simple reason. (1)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year ago | (#42061051)

The electric utility here uses a proprietary type of wire that no one else has access to (AFAIK it’s not “special” beyond being braided in a particular pattern) so recycling companies can identify cable that’s been pulled from streetlights and such.

Re:If they want to stop the copper thieves... (0, Flamebait)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42060755)

Start making the recyclers who pay cash for copper keep records and start prosecuting them for receiving stolen goods.

I deal with a scrap dealer all the time and trust me, what you're saying is so naive and moronic it's off the charts. That wouldn't work for about 100 different reasons. It's the same as a pawn shop. He asks the right questions and sort of gauges the person's behavior but beyond that, you have to take their word for it about where it came from. By the way, I see cops taking gear out of the pawn shop all the time.

Next up: cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060209)

If businesses are allowed to do this, PLEASE tell me that they will next allow vehicle owners to similarly trap their cars/trucks from being broken into by theives. I can't think of a good way to 'trap' a window, but the metal door handle? Sure, why not? And I'm sure there's dozens of potential ways to trap a vehicle to deter thieves.

Some of the ones shown on the old 'stickdeath' site come to mind.

Re:Next up: cars? (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#42060257)

Go re-watch Robocop, and keep an eye out for the "Magnavolt" car theft deterrent commercial. Best commercial on TV!

Re:Next up: cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060345)

Go re-watch Robocop, and keep an eye out for the "Magnavolt" car theft deterrent commercial. Best commercial on TV!

It was Robocop 2, and the clip is on youtube.

Re:Next up: cars? (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42060485)

If businesses are allowed to do this, PLEASE tell me that they will next allow vehicle owners to similarly trap their cars/trucks from being broken into by theives. I can't think of a good way to 'trap' a window, but the metal door handle? Sure, why not? And I'm sure there's dozens of potential ways to trap a vehicle to deter thieves.

Some of the ones shown on the old 'stickdeath' site come to mind.

How about one that will just break the thief's arms? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSbjgXbDUzo&feature=related [youtube.com]

A lot of fun (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#42060211)

It'll be a lot of fun to see the guy's face when they steal his electric fence wire.

Re:A lot of fun (4, Insightful)

NIK282000 (737852) | about a year ago | (#42060419)

Bingo, as stupid as copper thieves are they'll figure out in a hurry that a cheap pair of gloves and some cutters will make short work of an electric fence.

Re:A lot of fun (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year ago | (#42060503)

Possibly. but what will they do against my pond with that array of... TESLA COILS behind my fence...

Note to copper thieves - gloves won't work (4, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#42061035)

I once touched an electric fence with a three foot stick. I got quite a jolt. It's current, amps, that are dangerous, but it's volts that jump through insulation, and these things have a lot of volts. If you're unsure whether gloves, say thick leather work gloves, will help, consider this - an electric fence is designed to drop a 2,000 bull. A bull covered in non-conductive hair, and under that, covered in leather. Hmm, I'm giving advice for THIEVES. Come to think of it, everything I just said is a lie. All you have to do is use your T shirt to cover the wire, so your hands don't touch it directly. It'll work, I promise.

Re:A lot of fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060659)

And all of that free electricity!

Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060223)

Booby trapping is technically illegal in California.

remember that trial where a business owner was charged in killing a teenager allegedly attempting to loot his store? The store owner rigged a shotgun to go off if hte back door was opened from the outside. It killed the kid, and the owner went to jail. Of course, all of this happened in LA... which is more screwed up than Sacramento.

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (4, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | about a year ago | (#42060289)

But this isn't a booby trap.
The fences have to be properly signed, and are only allowed in industrial zoned areas.

Frankly, I think it's a bit overkill, but I totally understand. A local yard was robbed of commercial sized spools of copper wire, had to cost a ton. Even worse, thieves have been opening the access panel on street lights and using their cars to pull the wire out.

Rancho Cordova (where this passed) has long been seen as a higher crime area, not surprised they're going to these lengths at all.
-nbr

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060561)

They better make sure that there's no way to get even close to the electric fence without climbing over or cutting through some other fence. A sign is not enough to keep innocent people safe.

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#42060291)

But if the government gave you permission to put in the booby trap, they might have trouble getting a conviction. But seriously, all this means is the copper thieves will have to use insulated tools to cut the electrified wire first.

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (1)

BeanThere (28381) | about a year ago | (#42060445)

But seriously, all this means is the copper thieves will have to use insulated tools to cut the electrified wire first.

Electric fences can detect when they've been cut, and are often linked to alarms and other security systems (additionally most modern systems can even send you e.g. mobile phone notifications the moment they're tripped, or can be easily programmed to automatically call a security company). Actually, as this business owner has 'tried everything', he probably has existing security systems that the electric fence systems would plug into.

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#42060315)

An intentionally lethal trap is illegal. But an electric fence is not necessarily lethal. 7,000 volts is lower than a typical cattle fence.

However, the thief may end up merely pissed off and vengeful. If he has a lighter in his pocket, this could turn from burglary to arson, and backfire completely on the property owner.

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060375)

the copper theft is only a misdemeanor the arson turns it into a felony.

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about a year ago | (#42060391)

I got to thinking though...
Two grounding rods and a sledge along with some wire.
Drive the two rods into the ground about 10 feet apart and a foot from the fence.
Connect wire from the rods to the fence.
Cut and enter as normal.

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#42060499)

I just wonder how this will play out in the civil courts, with the fact that in CA, burglars have gotten compensation because they tripped and fell in the victim's house.

I also wonder what type of fence is mentioned. In some high security installations, they have stun fences, which are to knock back an intruder as well as sound an alarm inside to alert security, and in prisons, they have kill fences, where the COs are alerted so they can remove the remains.

Of course, there is the "plain old" electric fence that is used to keep the cows in by delivering electric shocks in pulses slow enough to prevent muscle lock and allow the zapped animal to get away from the fence.

Re:Cue the murder trial from early 90s... (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about a year ago | (#42060737)

I just wonder how this will play out in the civil courts, with the fact that in CA, burglars have gotten compensation because they tripped and fell in the victim's house.

Citation?

It's not the voltage, it's the current... (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#42060267)

A 10 microfarad, 10kV capacitor makes all the difference.

Re:It's not the voltage, it's the current... (4, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42061031)

Yeah, people keep saying that, but its not true. Have a read of ohms law. E=I*R and P=E*I (e=voltage, i=current, r=resistance, p=power) If you want to put 50ma through a person who has 2ko of body resistance, you need 100V. That'll pull 5 watts from the fence. If your electric fence is 10kv but can only deliver 1 watt, the voltage will drop to 45V and the current will be 22ma with a 2k load.

You're pretty safe with anything less than 30ma. Most RCD safety devices wont trip until there is a 30ma leak.

robocop 2 car anti thief system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060279)

old stuff... in robocop 2 they had it way sooner :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U4ZYOBzEEs

7,000 volts? (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42060321)

A former police officer friend of mine once sent me a pic of two electrocuted copper thieves, pretty nasty way to go. These two guys were trying to steal LIVE electric lines straight off of the pole, a bad career move on their part. A minor zap to deter bone-headed thieves would save lives. I'm not a licensed electrician, but 7,000 volts sounds kinda' deadly.

Re:7,000 volts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060407)

It's the Amps, not the Volts that kill you.

Re:7,000 volts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060877)

It's the Amps, not the Volts that kill you.

do the math: V= iR

Re:7,000 volts? (0)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#42060421)

7000 volts is shitloads enough to kill you hundreds of times over if it is deployed in the right way. Personally I would be extremely worried to live in a country where this kind of 'deterrent' is allowed to be implemented by everyday businesses. Even if it is designed to be non-lethal a very simple modification will fix that very quickly. How well do American's trust their friendly neighbourhood recycler? The guy in the article sounds a psycho.

Re:7,000 volts? (2)

jittles (1613415) | about a year ago | (#42060705)

No, no it's not. As the AC above you says, it is amperage that kills and not voltage. See Ohio state Physics [ohio-state.edu] for more info.

Re:7,000 volts? (1)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#42060803)

Yes, yes it is. It may be the current which kills you, but it is the voltage which drives the current (maybe you should read your helpful link a bit more). Depending on its deployment, 7,000 volts could give you a gentle tickle or completely vaporize you. My point was that these systems may be designed to be non-lethal but they can be rigged easily and should not be used as human deterrents.

Re:7,000 volts? (2)

skids (119237) | about a year ago | (#42060475)

but 7,000 volts sounds kinda' deadly

Depends on the effective output resistance of the circuit.

Re:7,000 volts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060513)

If you've even been shocked by static electricity, you've probably been shocked by far more voltage. A quarter inch spark in air is around 20k volts

Re:7,000 volts? (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#42060585)

I'm not a licensed electrician, but 7,000 volts sounds kinda' deadly.

Not really, as they say "current kills", not voltage. Static electric discharges frequently have a higher voltage than that. Lethality depends on a number of different factors. Of course, 7,000 volts of continuous DC current would most certainly be enough to kill most people, but electric fences usually use short pulses rather than continuous flow (at least, animal fences I've worked with, and been shocked by, do).

Re:7,000 volts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060791)

I find it odd how technically inept /. readers are, but shouldn't be suprised by the comments on climate change over the last couple of days where name calling when someone brings up fact others don't like takes the day and upvotes.

A Van de Graff machiene can go up to 5 million volts and they let kids touch them while running in science museums. Tasers are 50,000 volts as well. Voltage has nothing to do with leathality, its all in amperage.

Van de Graff [wikipedia.org]

Progress! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060323)

So now you can have death sentences for theft without all those time-consuming and expensive trials in court! America, land of the brave, home of the free!

Manslaughter maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060387)

If someone gets injured or dies from this system, couldn't the owner be charged with battery, manslaughter or worse? Even if the government sanctioned the device, it might be criminal. And of course there's always the non-criminal, civil suit liability to worry about.

South African solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060431)

In South Africa (I think), they had an even more novel solution.

They simple altered the reclose time on their power lines so the copper thieves could trip them.... assume the line's been de-energised.... and hook it up to the truck to drag it down.

When it finally reclosed it took out the whole lot with kilovolts of canned Thor and taught them a valuable lesson.

Probably be litigated into the ground in the US, however.

that's not a high-voltage fence. THIS is.... (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#42060443)

here in nothing-happens land, we had a case a couple years ago where a copper thief decided he was going to clean out a power substation.

as in 110,000 volts on that line.

there was enough to drag into court recently to send to jail for it. but as long as ignorant meth-heads can bring in saw-cut cable and get cash, they'll continue to strip fire stations and chain up fiber-optic ducts and try to roll full spools into the trunks of compact cars.

Re:that's not a high-voltage fence. THIS is.... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#42060833)

Probably falls under reckless endangerment but if they could only leave a pile of copper coils out in the open, behind the fence of course, and connect it to a high power line...

Lawsuit? (1)

Krojack (575051) | about a year ago | (#42060451)

'It'll be a little fun to watch one of these guys get electrocuted holding my fence trying to rob me.'"

Until the the thief turns around and tries to sue you and most likely wins.

Re:Lawsuit? (3, Funny)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year ago | (#42060549)

'It'll be a little fun to watch one of these guys get electrocuted holding my fence trying to rob me.'"

Until the the thief turns around and tries to sue you and most likely wins.

Because he didn't know how to read the signs "copper thieves will be electrocuted; survivors will be electrocuted again"?

Re:Lawsuit? (1)

Krojack (575051) | about a year ago | (#42060999)

If you haven't seen, people sue over the stupidest things in the US. He will claim that the warning signs weren't lit up at night or something.

What if they steal the fence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060459)

I hope the fences aren't made out of copper wire...

Hot Gloves anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060477)

Hot Gloves will work just fine.

Its like people that gripe about immigrant workers...... come down on the people hiring them, or in this case buying "hot" copper.

Free recharge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060603)

Any engineering whiz out there that can figure out a way to use the electricity on the fence to recharge your car (though the drain may be noticed), or perhaps through induction, recharge your phone or tablet?

why stop at just copper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060665)

What's so special about copper? Why can't I put an electric fence around my box of donuts that everyone keeps putting their grubby hands into and stealing a donut?

OK, so the example is silly but the point is still there. If somebody can put an electric fence around copper why can't everyone who has something they want to prevent theft of using electric fences?

Pulsed (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | about a year ago | (#42060723)

As with cattle fences this would be a pulsed current, probably one or two pulses per second. They charge a capacitor to the peak voltage then dump it into a step-up transformer, reminiscent of old capacitor-discharge ignition systems for cars.

This enables the number of Joules and the shape and duration of the pulse to be controlled, reducing the chance of fatalities, and so avoiding legal problems.

As to gloves, 5KV to 7KV would be enough to break down many cheaper types of insulating gloves, so thieves may still be in for a surprise.

I have one (5, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#42060733)

A neighbor girl had fun teaching my dogs to jump my fence. She was climbing back and forth into my yard all the time and goading the dogs to follow her. They of course learned. So I went to the local farm implement store and was looking at invisible fences... they were expensive... then I saw the regular farm electric fence transformer was only $15! SOLD! A roll of aluminum wire was $5 for 1/4 mile and the insulators was another $2. So for $22 and about 2hrs work I had an electric fence.

Well my neighbors were "outraged" The little girl that had been jumping the fence was now in "mortal danger" according to her mom. I told her "well maybe you should keep her off my fence then" The fact of the matter is, I got zapped by far worse fences than what I put up when I was a kid... and while it smarts, it doesn't do any real damage to you. Apparently there's a city ordinance against electric fences in town, they pointed this out to me... I pointed out that I really didn't care and I was already breaking at least a dozen others. They called the cops... cops never came. Apparently had more important things to do.

Then, about 8 months later, the best thing ever happened (well for me anyway.) The neighbors got their house broken into. I guess it wasn't great for them. But the cops showed up, investigated, and told them there were tracks in the mud leading up to MY fence... then for some odd reason the moved over to their house, jumped the fence and kicked in the back door. The husband told me about this... wanted his own electric fence now. He said "When you stop laughing can you go with me to the store?"

Long story short... electric fences rock. 2 of my neighbors have them to.

Re:I have one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42061037)

The real surprising part of this story is at the end:

But the cops showed up, investigated, and told them there were tracks in the mud leading up to MY fence...

Last I looked, cops weren't in the job to investigate anything...

Shocking. (0)

Formalin (1945560) | about a year ago | (#42060799)

I really hate when people say 'electrocute' when they mean 'shock'. Big difference.
You don't walk off being electrocuted, it's the end of the line.

Unless he's actually planning on having a lethal fence, which is fucked, not to mention a massive liability.

Electric fence detector (4, Informative)

godel_56 (1287256) | about a year ago | (#42060825)

BTW, if you ever need to determine if your electric fence is switched on or not, without putting your tongue across it, a portable AM radio tuned between stations and held close to the wires will enable the HV pulses to be heard.

Free Drugs (3, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#42060915)

How about instead of spending billions on replacing stolen goods and electric fences and insurance we instead spend millions giving away free crack, heroin and other addictive drugs? You get a card and you can go to a drug store and get free heroin. We'd save a LOT of dollars.

Economics? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42060961)

I'm not an expert, but is the cost of ...

1) An electrician
2) The fence wire and pole installation
3) The inverter, components, and monthly power
4) The signage I'm sure would be required by law
5) The periodic maintenance and upkeep of insulator coils
6) The outer barrier-fence that this almost certainly will need as a matter of safety and/or law (and simple maintenance--don't want windblown debris shorting things)

Actually cheaper than a guard armed with a pistol? I mean, even in California at a certain point you gain the right to say "Stop, or I'll shoot" and actually follow through...

I'm assume it'd be high voltage, low amperage fence... a horse or cattle fence doesn't take much, but in order to deter a person you actually need more than painful -- you need a "probably dangerous" quantity.

I'm not sure what the costs of a military or police style electric fence actually are monthly... But I'm seriously wondering how it compares with human labor...

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