Alabama farmer Michael Sanders is hoping a $10,000 reward from Alfa Insurance will lead to the conviction of thieves who heavily damaged his irrigation equipment last week during a copper theft.
Sanders, who farms in Pike County, said he discovered the damage to one of his center pivot systems on Monday afternoon, Sept. 9.
He said thieves stole about 1,300 feet of copper wire and damaged motors on the system.
“If we hadn’t noticed the damage before turning it on, we could have been electrocuted,” said Sanders, who is an Alfa Insurance farm policyholder.
“I don’t know the cost yet, but I would guess repairs will be $10,000 to $20,000.”
According to Sanders, the pivot is located in an isolated field on his farm, not visible from the highway. He suspects thieves hit sometime between Saturday night and Monday afternoon, when he discovered the damage.
“I just hate the thought of it,” Sanders said. “We work around the clock, and to think someone can go out there and destroy something that helps us make our livelihood — that’s the worst thing. We feel like we’ve been violated, because we have been. We don’t want it to ever happen again.”
Alfa Insurance is offering a $10,000 reward to the first person who provides information leading to a conviction for this crime, or any other thefts of copper wire from farm irrigation systems, poultry houses and other property in Alabama covered by an Alfa Insurance policy.
“Irrigation equipment is an expensive investment, and provides farmers peace of mind knowing they have the water needed for a good crop,” said Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell.
“Thieves like those who stole from Michael take more than just wire; they steal a farmer’s sense of security — all for metal that might bring a couple hundred dollars. Repairing and replacing damaged equipment can cost thousands of dollars.”
Alfa Insurance is the leading insurer of farms in the state. In recent years, dozens of farmers and other rural residents have reported property damage related to copper theft.
Anyone with information related to the copper thefts is encouraged to contact local law enforcement officials or the statewide Agriculture and Rural Crimes Unit at 855-75-CRIME.