Wednesday, December 03, 2008

FBI: Copper Thieves Threaten U.S. Infrastructure

David Kravets writes on Threat Level:

Copper thieves, sometimes acting as "organized groups," are threatening what the FBI said is "critical" U.S. infrastructure, from electrical sub-stations, cellular towers, telephone land lines to railroads and crops, the agency said in an unclassified report unveiled Wednesday.

The report, Copper Thefts Threaten US Critical Infrastructure, said bandits are taking advantage of unprecedented high prices for copper, an almost 500 percent increase since 2001 as measured earlier this year.

But perhaps market forces can stop crimes that law enforcement officials cannot.

The FBI publicized the unclassified report the same day stocks of global mining concerns were battered as operations worldwide gear up for a 50 percent reduction in copper prices. Shares of Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, the world's largest copper supplier, plummeted nearly 20 percent Wednesday as the company suspended dividends, cut spending and scaled back copper production to adjust to weakening demand amid a global economic slump.

More here.


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