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Copper thefts on the rise in Italy

November 22, 2013

ROME (AP) — Italian authorities say thefts of copper from national infrastructure, including rail and communications lines, are up 12 percent in the first 10 months of the year.

Officials say copper theft has been on the rise years due to the rising price of the highly conductive material.

The Italian state railway CEO Mauro Moretti told reporters Friday that the theft of copper from its lines has cost it 31 million euros ($42 million) over the last three years, including material losses and repair costs. The thefts also have delayed more than 11,000 trains.

Rail officials say there are three to four thefts a day on average.

The railway is looking at replacing copper, which is used to deliver electrical power and in switching mechanisms, with less-prized materials such as aluminum.

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