Southwire’s ‘Proof Positive’ technology uses laser-etched serial numbers and a web-based system to thwart copper wire theft

Jun 01, 2010 | 04:29 AM | Tatyana Shumsky

The design and technology behind Southwire Co.'s award-winning Proof Positive Copper with Trace ID Technology is elegant in its simplicity, but the innovation resolves the two key problems that have left neighborhoods and utilities vulnerable to copper wire theft.

The run-up in copper prices—more than doubling to $3.3985 per pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange at the start of this year from $1.4535 a year earlier, and still hovering in a lofty $3.18- to $3.19-per-pound range in mid-May—spurred a flurry of copper thefts across the nation as small-time thieves recognized that 100 pounds of copper wire pilfered from a church or a foreclosed house could fetch upward of $300 at a scrapyard. Recent cases include copper water pipe taken from a church near Seattle, leaving parishioners unable to serve Sunday breakfast; copper wire stolen from a railroad signal switch near Burlington, Pa., resulting in major delays for the rail system there; and a foiled attempt to steal copper cable from a Verizon truck in West Virginia in broad daylight.

"You tend to see more crime in a down economy no matter what industry, but it's worse because copper prices are higher now," one Midwest scrap processor said. "The higher copper gets, the more theft you see."....

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