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CHARLES COUNTY, Md. (WUSA9) -- Charles County Sheriff's Office is investigating several reports of copper thefts, in which suspects stole copper wiring from large light poles.

Authorities said the most recent incident happened at a school around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. An officer was doing a building check at Westlake High School, located at 3300 Middletown Road in Waldorf, when he noticed someone had tampered with light poles close to the back of the parking lot.

The officer noticed that the wires had been pulled out of the pole, cut and stolen.

In addition, copper wires were also stolen from two other schools and two business. There will be more patrols in the area and authorities ask residents to report any suspicious activity right away.

According to authorities, nationwide copper thefts have gone up significantly. The sheriff's office said thieves target anything with copper including plumping and copper components from heating and air conditioning units.

These incidents happen at various times throughout the day and at all different locations, including vacant homes, occupied homes, homes under construction and at businesses. Authorities said, the suspects may often look like contractors.

Theft of copper cant stop the flow of electricity, telecommunications, transportation, heating and air conditioning, and could present a risk to public safety.

The Charles County Crime Solvers is offering cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of suspects involved in these incidents. Tipsters may call 1-866-411-TIPS or provide an online tip to tipsubmit.com.

Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of a person responsible for a crime in Charles County. Anyone with information about an unsolved crime or the location of a fugitive may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS, texting CHARLES + the tip to CRIMES (274637) or submitting tips online at tipsubmit.com. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Learn more at the CCSO's website.

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