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Thieves stealing flower farmers’ heating wires

Date Posted: 2006-09-10

Electrical wires used to provide heated lighting to flower beds in northern Okinawa are being stolen.

Chrysanthemum farmers say y thieves have stolen copper electrical wires that provide warm light to help flowers grow. “Be careful, and watch it!” is the warning going out to all members of the Flower Horticultural Association. There have been 40 theft incidents reported to police, but the Association says there are other farmers who may not have made reports.

Thieves are stealing the copper wires, mounted on poles 2.5 meters above ground. The wires provide power to the flower growing areas, keeping the area warm and well lit during the growth period following August plantings. In this case, police say the thefts likely took place during the May~ July period when farmers weren’t actively tending the flower beds. Damage is estimated at ¥5,600,000 ($50,000).

Uruma City has had 15 cases of stolen wire reported, followed by Okinawa City with eight. Additional cases have been reported in Nago City, Itoman and Yaese Town.

One Ginoza Village farmer says the stolen wire has cost him ¥800,000 ($7,140) in damages.

Association officials say thieves are probably selling the stolen wire to ironworkers who can use the copper. Farmers must spend ¥720 per kilogram to replace the wire, up from ¥320 only a year ago.

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