VIBORG, S.D. -- Southeastern Electric Cooperative General Manager Brad Schardin advises cooperative managers and employees across the state to be aware of a theft that took place at the co-op’s district office in Viborg.
Two men broke into the cooperative’s materials yard between the hours of 12:44 a.m. and 3:20 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. They were caught on surveillance cameras loading bundles of copper ground wire, various power tools and other equipment. Surveillance photos also captured images of a white extended-cab pick-up truck in front of the premises.
Schardin said law enforcement authorities were contacted immediately after the theft was discovered and the surveillance footage has been turned over to both the local police and sheriff departments. He said the surveillance photos have also been posted on the cooperative’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/southeasternelectric. The co-op is asking the community to come forward with any information about the individuals.
“Our cooperatives should be aware that this has taken place and to be on the lookout,” Schardin said. “This doesn’t happen very frequently in our state, but it’s a very dangerous criminal activity because those who engage in these activities are putting themselves at risk. And, of course, it costs the cooperative money and makes it harder to do our jobs.”
Schardin pointed out that the South Dakota Legislature passed a law in 2008 designed to curb metal theft by requiring scrap metal business owners to keep records of all transactions. If the business suspects items have been lost or stolen, law enforcement authorities must be alerted.