BinSnitch: new security system catching copper thieves in the act

LONOKE COUNTY (KATV)--A first of its kind, it's called BinSnitch and it's helping local farmers catch copper thieves in the act.

Three Lonoke County farmers teamed up with a company based out of Indiana to create this new security system to combat grain bin wire theft.

BinSnitch does exactly what the name suggests; it snitches on copper thieves by notifying the farmer and law enforcement immediately after a grain bin wire has been cut or tampered with.

Since installing BinSnitch last July these farmers said they haven't had any more copper stolen.

Farms stretch for miles in Lonoke County with generational farmers trying to protect their livelihood and keep their copper. However, it wasn't until BinSnitch was created when thieves were finally getting caught in the act.

"If they open my panel box, or they cut a wire or if they pull a wire...within a minute and a half to two minutes, I'm going to get a phone call," said Scott Mitchell of Mitchell Farms Partnership.

"Copper wire theft became such a big issue, that local farmers were taking turns sitting out in the middle of their farms to protect themselves," said Lonoke County Farmer, Matt Schafer. "I had a pistol in one hand and the sheriff pre-dialed in the other hand and it was three in the morning, when I woke up I convinced myself this wasn't something I was going to do every night," he added.

It was that night when Schafer took to the Internet and found an Indiana based company named Net Irrigate. A company that had already created a wireless irrigation monitoring system that notified owners when copper wiring was cut.

After several months of pestering them, the company finally came out and told Schafer exactly what he wanted to hear.

"They decided to fly down here to see if it would work, it took about 2-3 hours and they were convinced that this technology would work on the grain bins," Schafer adds.

Another product these farmers have come up with is called the PumpSnitch. It's the same system and same concept, but for wells instead of grain bins.