Copper thieves hit an irrigation pivot before dawn in an isolated and dark farm field. But the landowner knew the instant crooks cut the wires.
The Steinbach farms in Western Douglas County have pivots with an alarm system. When thieves stripped wires off a pivot about five Monday morning Mike Steinbach received both a text and audio alarm.
Mike said, "We knew thieves were out in the field at the time."
But Mike his son and deputies missed the thieves by minutes. However the thieves left behind more than 100 feet of cut wire pulled off the pivot. That save Steinach about $11,000 in wire and repairs.
Valmont installed the pivot alarm and control box. Valmont product manager Wade Sikkink said, "It has a tamper proof alarm so if you take the lid off that activates a switch that sounds the alarm."
The pivot alarms cost $3,000 each but after losing $40,000 in copper wire the past year the Steinbach says its worth the price.
Mike said, "Eventually we're going to catch them because they can't be in and out that fast every time."