HAMLET — A suspected copper thief left hundreds in the dark for several hours early Tuesday morning.
Officials with Duke Energy say copper was removed from the power company’s equipment along its distribution system which started a small fire.
The theft happened on Freeman Mill Road, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
Duke says 80 of its customers were without power for about three hours and Pee Dee Electric reported having 521 customers with lights out.
Pee Dee Electric’s outage map on its website showed more than 1,000 customers were without power around 2 a.m., but a company spokesman says it was “showing incorrectly.”
The sheriff’s office is investigating.