Thieves get away with copper, cut off power to strip of stores

by: David Ham Updated:

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GRAHAM, Wash. —

Pierce County detectives are looking for copper thieves who stole an estimated $10,000 worth of copper from an underground electrical junction box behind a strip of shops in Graham on Meridian Avenue East.

Two weeks ago, Lorrie Tudor who owns LimeBerry Frozen Yogurt, said she noticed a man in a white Ford pickup truck with a magnet that said "Tacoma Public Utilities" on the side.

"It was a white pick up on it that said Tacoma power and light, so we thought it was a worker," said Tudor. 

She didn't think anything of it, until she and everyone else in the complex started losing power at about 1:30 p.m.

"Then an hour later all my machines went down an hour after that everything went down the whole complex went black," said Tudor. 

"Everything went black. It was just the whole strip that was out," said Ben Myers who works at a Verizon store in the complex. 

Stores that serve food in the complex including, Subway, Papa Murphy's, Starbucks and Jack in the Box, all said they had to throw out or transport food out because of the loss of power for the rest of the day. 

"We lost product we had to transport product out of our cases of yogurt," said Tudor. 

Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, said detectives are reviewing surveillance photos and video to identify the suspects.

"They took $10,000 worth of copper now replacing that and fixing it and the product damage on the back end adds up to a lot more than that," Troyer added, "One of the things we've found out about metal thieves is that they'll continue to do it until they get caught they're making their living off of it. "