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Copper Thieves Knock Out ZNS Radio

Men claiming to be workers for the Bahamas Electricity Corporation stole copper tuning bands from a ZNS transmission site knocking radio 1540AM off the air.

Executives at the government-owned broadcasting company are not sure when the station will be back up.

According to a report in today’s Tribune newspaper, the men showed up at the ZNS South Beach transmission site in a flatbed truck that was painted in the ZNS colours. They said they needed to check the transformers.

Instead, they removed the copper bands used for tuning and necessary for transmission.

Only after the men left, and the station suddenly went off the air, did the ZNS employees realize there was something wrong.

While this is not the first time that the theft of copper wire has affected operations at ZNS, this is certainly the boldest theft on record.

In November 2007, ZNS “Inspiration” station, which broadcast on 1240AM, was knocked off the air for weeks after copper bands were stolen from the same transmission site.

And it’s not just ZNS who has had trouble with copper thieves.

Also in November 2007, thieves cut and stole a long section of BTC’s fibre optic overhead cable wire in Grand Bahama.  Three men were arrested for that crime. It not clear if they were successfully prosecuted.

Just prior to that incident, Grand Bahama businessman Alpha Celestin, owner and operator of a heavy equipment company, said that he will soon be unable to afford to replace copper wires, batteries and radiators that are being stolen from his heavy machines.

Last June, Super Value head Rupert Roberts called on the government to ban the export of scrap copper, arguing it as the best way of arresting an illegal trade that had already robbed him of $80k in the last year and a half.

“These thieves are destroying this country and selling it for scrap,” the grocer said at the time. “I’m losing about $5,000 a week in theft of copper wiring from generators, compressors, tubing and more.

This has been a problem for over three years and has costs several businesses hundreds of thusands of dollars.

If you have ideas on how to combat this problem or additional information on these occurances, please leave your comments below.

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