SAWS is targeting two large-scale copper thieves caught on camera last Saturday allegedly stealing 300 pounds of the valuable metal from a pump station along Interstate 10 near Foster Road.
Anne Hayden, SAWS spokeswoman, said Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward for information. Tippers can call 224-STOP with information that can be given anonymously.
Hayden said an infrared camera that is part of the surveillance systems at all SAWS facilities "got good pictures" of the two men.
She said the ghostly infrared images clearly show their faces, clothing and even tattoos.
"We believe these people have specialized information which allows them to access these higher-voltage facilities," Hayden said.
She said they are not likely current or former employees, but that they apparently know what they are doing.
Hayden said it is dangerous work.
"For them to enter, open up these power panels and cut the power, and literally cut the line, they're endangering themselves," Hayden said.
She said as the price of copper rises, now about $3 a pound, utility companies -- and not just homes and businesses -- are lucrative targets.
Hayden said the most recent theft cost SAWS an estimated $1,500 to $2,000.
Hayden said SAWS and CPS Energy both have had copper stolen, but they are comparing notes and working with law enforcement.
She said after the thieves who had targeted AT&T were caught, their thefts stopped.
Hayden said, "We're hoping something similar will happen."