Machinery Chatter
Russ Quinn DTN Staff Reporter

Friday 12/20/13

Cable Theft Deterrent Product Now Available

Farm theft is too common and has been this way for many years. The effects of this criminal activity can be both financially and emotionally difficult for farmers.

When I was kid, thieves stole an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) right out of one of our buildings on the farm as we slept. Even though it was just a three-wheeler, the side effects of this theft were long lasting as my dad from this point forward locked every building, keys were removed from vehicles parked outside and they were locked.

The big, bad, nasty world crept into our farm in the mid-1980s. And it was an eye-opening event for me has a 12 year old.

Among the most common form of rural thievery today is cooper theft out of center pivot irrigation units. Thieves steal the copper wiring from the units in remote fields, thus stopping the irrigation systems and potentially ruining crops and causing thousands of dollars in repair costs. They take the wire to metal recyclers to cash-in for some easy money.

Valley Irrigation recently unveiled a new product which should deter cooper theft.

Proof Positive Span Cable, manufactured by Southwire Company and sold through Paige Electric Company, is a traceable span cable that provides proof of ownership. Valley Irrigation is offering Proof Positive Span Cable through its dealer network.

The problem with cooper theft is proving ownership of the wire so thieves usually cannot be prosecuted. Unlike farm equipment with serial numbers or vehicles with vehicle identification numbers (VIN) numbers, proving ownership of cooper wiring was virtually impossible.

Until now.

With the Proof Positive Span Cable, the cable is manufactured with unique TraceID codes printed on the tape inside the jacket or cover. Once sold, ownership data of the wire is entered in an online database accessible to metal recyclers and law enforcement.

The bright yellow outer jacket alerts recyclers that this particular cable is traceable. Recyclers enter the ID codes in at and they can verify ownership in just seconds. Law enforcement can then prosecute the thieves who steal the span cables off center pivot irrigation systems with this type of cable.

"Until now, there was no way to prove ownership and that's the only way you can prosecute thieves who steal span cable," Julie Bushell, director of sales and marketing at Paige Electric, said in Valley news release.

So technology is pushing forward, trying to stay one step ahead of rural criminals. Hopefully the metal recyclers will do their part of this process and take the time to run these numbers if wire with these numbers are brought to them.

This traceable wiring comes on the heels of center pivot manufacturers creating alert systems farmers can receive on their cell phones when someone enters a center pivot unit. The farmer gets an alert by phone, calls law enforcement and hopefully they catch the thefts in the act.

Hopefully between the phone alerts and traceable cooper wiring, more thieves can be caught and punished severely. All crime is obviously bad, but being a victim of theft is very unsettling.

The theft of the ATV our farm took place over 27 years ago and despite it being that long ago it still as a lasting effect today. Every building and vehicle is still locked up tight when no one is around.

Luckily we have not been a rural theft victim since.

Posted at 6:22AM CST 12/20/13 by Russ Quinn
Comments (2)
then you need to replace the door too
Posted by Mark Knobloch at 8:35AM CST 12/20/13
To clarify, If they want something, you will not be able to stop them. I agree, theft is the most annoying crime, to me it is ,if you need it, come ask me, and Ill give it to you.
Posted by Mark Knobloch at 8:43AM CST 12/20/13
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