Copper wire thieves are targeting a group of valley farmers.
Over the past few weeks, a record number of growers say the copper wire on their water pumps have been stolen, leaving their crops without water.
Growers say it is costing them big bucks.
Dennis Divine is a 3rd generation farmer in Fresno County. But he wonders for how much longer if thieves continue to steal his copper wire to power his water pumps.
Dennis Divine says, "I feel like the justice system is failing us. We can't keep them in jail, the deputies work hard to catch them, then someone on the upper end says we can't keep them and let's them out and within a day they are back doing the same thing."
Reporter asks, "You been hit how many times?"
Dennis says, "This particular pump about 3 times, and 3 more times additional places."
Local growers are doing what they can even encasing the copper wire in steel pipes. However, all these crooks are doing is cutting the pipes and hooking the copper wire up to a truck and taking off with it. Every time local growers need to make a repair, it is costing them a thousand dollars to a couple of thousand.
Dennis says," The insurance company is getting tired of it too. I cringe when I call them."
Charles Barber is the owner of Caruthers's Pump Inc. He says," You can only turn it in so many times, and the premiums will get so you can't afford it, or they are going to cancel you."
Charles barber is the owner of Caruthers's pump incorporated.
Charles says the last 10 days he has received more than 36 calls from growers who need copper wire repairs.
With hot summer weather around the corner, he currently has a crew working 6 days week, just making repairs.
Some growers are hiring private security to protect their pumps and crops.
Growers say these crooks come prepared.
They say a few have been caught with pipe cutters and even welding equipment to cut galvanized pipes