By Colleen Mahoney
ERIE COUNTY—A string of theft at area utility substations has started an investigation by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. Four utility substations have been broken into, including one in the village of Springville, and copper wires have been stolen.
Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reported thieves broke into utility companies’ substations by cutting security gate locks and removing copper wire and fixtures from devices in the stations. The total cost of the materials stolen is estimated at $14,000.
Detectives are investigating the four separate incidents, where an individual, or individuals, gained access to NYSEG and village of Springville substations and stripped copper fittings, posts and grounding wires necessary for the normal operation of the substations.
The NYSEG substations affected were State Road in the town of Colden, Hunn Road in the town of Boston, Girdle Road in the town of Elma and the Village of Springville’s substation. The thefts at the State and Hunn road locations were reported on Oct.3, the Girdle Road incident was reported on Oct. 10 and the village of Springville incident was reported on Nov. 1. The incident in Springville caused a village-wide power outage for roughly four and a half hours.
“The theft has a lot to do with it, it’s definitely partially to blame,” said Springville Superintendent of Public Works Ken Kostowniak. “We’re looking into it to make sure there wasn’t anything else damaged as a result [of the theft.]”
Detectives are asking anyone familiar with the locations that may have observed suspicious, non-company vehicles parked at or near the substations to contact the sheriff’s office at 858-2903.