ALHAMBRA – The Alhambra Police Department is urging thepublic to help them stop the rising theft of copper wires, two recent thefts ina four-day span alone. Alhambra Police Sergeant Brandon Black said that thievestarget streetlamps, possibly in broad daylight.
“If anyone sees someone tinkering with a lamppost orelectrical facility, call us,” said Black. “If you don’t see the city ofAlhambra seal on a white truck, they are not genuine. There is no need toconfront these guys.” The APD has in its possession a picture of a red truckwhich they believe is a truck the thieves have been using.
It appears that the thieves are cutting from understreetlamps, not in major intersections but along smaller streets. In two daysthe city lost about 4,000 feet of copper wire, which the thieves typically taketo recycling centers. Legislation is in the works for recycling centers tomandate identification before exchanging metals in bulk for cash. The price ofcopper currently hovers at around $3 per pound. Six years ago copper was just75 cents a pound.
Black said that it is important to catch these people soonerthan later, because it costs the city between $8,000 to $10,000 to replace thewire. This week alone 20 streetlights went out on Westmont Drive and another 10lamps went out on Ramona Road.
More important than the financial impact is that safety isbeing compromised. City lights could increase the chance of crime, as criminalstypically work in the dark. Copper wire thefts are nothing new to Alhambra orother parts of Los Angeles County. By the winter of 2008 alone more than 4,000lights had been affected in L.A., causing more than $1 million in damages.
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