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Head Line CRC’s Central Station Helps Nab Utility Copper Thief

Thanks to CRC’s central station and I2C Technologies’ advance portable video surveillance device, one less copper thief is on the streets.

Just this month, CRC associate member Alpena Power Company, based in Alpena, Michigan, was the victim of an attempted robbery. The suspect broke into Alpena Power Company’s pole yard looking for copper wire. Thanks to the utility’s decision to utilize the I2C product, CRC’s central station was immediately notified of a possible intruder. Once verified, the central station operator notified the local police and Kevin Brown, the company’s Transmission and Distribution Engineer. The police and Brown got to the office so quickly that the intruder did not have time to get to his truck parked near the building. The police chased the intruder but lost him in a heavily wooded area near the office. Luckily, his abandoned truck holding all his breaking and entering equipment helped police locate him. The suspect was out on parole but due to the recent break in, he’s now back in custody.

The I2C VX400 device utilized by Alpena Power Company conceals an advanced IP pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) camera. Motion sensors detect movement and triggers the camera to operate, providing a clear, 18X optically zoomed image. Designed to look like a power transformer, the unit houses advanced software running on a file server located inside the unit. The software archives video footage for 90 days or more, but also alerts designated personnel when an intrusion occurs. The system uses any standard network connection for remote connectivity or it can use a cellular data modem to provide primary or secondary of backup connectivity. The system can be remotely controlled to determine if the alert is a legitimate threat to or just an animal in the vicinity.

“The value-added benefit of this service to our members will definitely be apparent once the first intruder is captured,” explained Mark Colton, CRC’s business manager. “This is a truly innovative solution to help identify and capture any type of intruder whether it’s at a substation or a utility’s storage area. Simply put, I2C’s VX400 system combined with CRC’s monitoring keeps electric utility companies and their consumers safer.”

For more information about the I2C product and/or CRC’s Central Station services, contact Mark Colton at or 800.892.1578, ext. 2131. Attending the TechAdvantage Expo in New Orleans in February? Make sure to stop by CRC’s booth (#622) to visit with Mark and Jeff Doak, president of I2C Technologies. Mark and Jeff will be demonstrating the I2C VX400 device during the expo.

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