Copper wire thieves steal from lightpoles, cause $1 Million in damages and endanger drivers in Southwest Washington

Thieves are putting your safety at risk by stealing copper wire from equipment on state roads in Southwest Washington.

The most recent thefts were first reported by the Columbian.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) told KATU copper wire thefts cost the state about $1 million over the past two years and $70 thousand in Southwest Washington alone.

You may not notice them, but when you’re driving on state roads in Washington, critical equipment above helps keep you safe.

“There’s the lights, there’s traffic cameras so we can see if there’s an incident,” said Bart Treece, WSDOT spokesman. “We can help first responders get there.”

Treece said the cameras are also available to drivers so they can plan their routes and see if there’s any trouble to avoid.

“We depend on those types of tools and so do drivers,” Treece said.

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After apparent copper theft attempt, exposed live wires shock man on L.A. sidewalk

A 21-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition after he was shocked by live wires on a public sidewalk in Boyle Heights.

Firefighters responded to the area near Boyle and 6th streets shortly after midnight on Wednesday following a report of a male being shocked from exposed wires at the base of a light pole.The man, identified by family as Eddie V., was transported to Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was notified of the incident, fire officials said.

As of Friday, family members said Eddie remains hospitalized in critical condition.

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Copper thieves target light poles around little league fields

Copper thieves target baseball field

Originally published 

Stolen copper wire from the lights at the Northern Little League fields is throwing a possible curve ball in the start of their season.  Northern Little League President John Lawson says 2,500 feet of heavy gauge copper wire was stolen out of the lights last week.

Lawson noticed the copper was stolen when they were practicing last Thursday.  He suspects it was stolen last Tuesday when there was rainy weather and no one was out using the fields.  Now, the league is hoping to have the lights fixed in time for opening day Friday.

About half of the field lights on each field for the two older age groups do not work due to copper wire being stolen from them, which Lawson says limits their practice time.

“Basically makes it unsafe to practice.  You know, seeing the baseball for hitting and catching is pretty important so, we did not, we halted the practices pretty much at that point,” he explained.

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Local, state, federal and private security agencies team for Super Bowl security

Security officials are taking no chances as nearly one million people flow into the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas to see the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons clash on the field for a Super Bowl showdown this Sunday, February 6.

Local, state, federal and private security agencies are teaming up to create a security stronghold that will protect a three mile area around the stadium on the day of the big game. The Houston division of the FBI says they’ve been working on a security plan for this particular Super Bowl event for years.

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Rocky Mountain Power offers $5,000 reward for information on copper thieves targeting southern Utah substation

Rocky Mountain Power is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of thieves who stole copper at a substation in La Sal last month and caused nearly a thousand residents in the area to lose power.

On Dec. 28, the thieves took about 100 feet of copper wiring from the substation, causing a power outage for 988 people in San Juan and Grand counties for more than four hours, according to a news release from the utility company.

“People who try to steal copper from high voltage equipment put themselves and others in danger,” said Joseph Krempasky, Rocky Mountain Power substations manager, in the release. “The damage is expensive to repair, and it is extremely problematic for those who lose their power in the middle of the winter.”

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Update: Tulsa making repairs to street lights damaged by copper theft


This is an update to the post from July 2016 regarding copper theft from light poles in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You can read the original post here.

With the days growing shorter, the lack of lighting along some highways in Tulsa has become more apparent to motorists as the winter sun dips below the horizon during rush hour.

The city has been working to recover from an extensive series of thefts of copper wiring from underground light pole connections along highways. The thefts have tapered off, but repairs are costing the city millions of dollars and many stretches of road remain unlit.

Progress has been made, but the pace has been slow due to the limited manpower assigned to the problem, said Terry Ball, director of the Streets and Stormwater Department.

“When you’re working two crews and you’re looking at how many miles to get the system back up, it’s going to take some time,” Ball sad.

The city said earlier this year that about 30 miles of copper wiring had been stolen.

Ball said his department could finish the job more quickly with an increase in staffing, but that would come at great expense to taxpayers who are already paying more than $2 million to make the repairs.

Read the full story here.

The LightpoleLock is helping Kentucky in battling copper theft

Kentucky had a growing problem with copper theft. Street lights were being stripped of their copper, requiring expensive repairs and leaving unlit, less safe roads for drivers and pedestrians alike.

According to Kentucky State Police, interstate exit ramps were targeted at least 37 times in a 10-month span. Mike Duncan, inspector general for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said wiring was stolen from four highway exit ramps in Carter County totaling 25,000 feet of copper. This area alone cost the taxpayers $37,000. State highway engineers estimated the total damages over a four-year span were around $2 million.

They needed a way to prevent thieves from easily accessing the copper.

Officials chose the LightpoleLock, a patent-pending locking cover for light poles. More than 300 have been installed in Kentucky during 2016. The traditional base-mounted device is a long-term solution because it has no gears or springs and is corrosion- and tamper-resistant.

The LightpoleLocks are working: There have been no reports of damage to protected poles.

Unauthorized manhole access leads to sewage spill in Kalamazoo

overflowKALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Vandalism caused 450 gallons of sewage to spill in in a Kalamazoo neighborhood on Saturday.

The City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services was called about a sewage overflow from a manhole in a wooded area at 1720 W. North St. at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2016. City workers found the manhole had been taken off and sticks and logs were stuck into the sewage line, which caused the backup.

Read more here.

Fiber cuts a large problem in San Francisco

Within the last year there have been 16 so-called fiber cuts in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to the F.B.I., someone or some group has been going through manholes to sever fiber optic cables that supply telecommunications to large sections of the region, which is home to technology companies, academic institutions and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, overseer of the nation’s nuclear weapons.

Following each incident (usually occurring late at night and involving two or three separate fiber cuts) residents couldn’t make land or mobile calls, not even to 911, or send texts or emails. Hospital records in some instances were inaccessible. Credit cards and A.T.M.s didn’t work. And forget about Googling, watching Netflix or remotely turning on a coffee maker. (For security reasons, Lawrence Livermore declined to say how the cuts affected its operations.)

When we talk about the Internet, we talk about clouds and ether. But the Internet is not amorphous. You may access it wirelessly, but ultimately you’re relying on a bunch of physical cables that are vulnerable to attack. It’s something that’s been largely forgotten in the lather over cybersecurity. The threat is not only malicious code flowing through the pipes but also, and perhaps more critically, the pipes themselves.

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Copper thieves target street lights along Hawaiian highway

NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) –

lightpole copper thieves in Hawaii

Lightpole copper theft

If you drive along the Leeward coast, you may notice some street lights are out. That’s because police say thieves have stolen the copper wires inside of them.

Nanakuli resident Mike Duarte caught a crook in action Sunday around 11 p.m. “I heard hammering noises like somebody was hitting something metal,” he said.

When Duarte looked out his window, he saw a man crouched down working away at a pipe next to the highway.

“He has curly hair and he was wearing a black tank top and board shorts with white stripes on it,” Duarte said.

That pipe connects to streets lights and when Duarte walked outside, he realized they were all out. “That’s when I called HPD to let them know there was a possible theft in progress.”

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