Copper theft on islands in Sacramento area

Sacramento BeeJune 10, 2011 

For the past six months, farmers who raise crops on the Delta's Tyler Island have been on high alert, patrolling their property at night with shotguns, questioning strangers they find parked on levee roads and shrouding their equipment inside steel safes.

Despite the efforts, their livelihoods have been disrupted as thieves have made off with tractor batteries, engines, air compressors and, most importantly, anything with copper wire inside.

More than 100 drainage or irrigation pumps have been wrecked in recent months, officials say, devices that are critical to keeping the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta from seeping up through the ground and choking newly planted fields. Repairing the damage has cost more than $150,000.

"We've had a lot of problems down here," farmer Steve Mello said recently as he recounted the losses he and others have suffered. "I can't trust anyone anymore. That's the way I feel."

Read the complete story at

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service