Rising Copper Prices Spark Streetlamp Thievery

SPECULATIVELY DUE TO THE RISE in the price of copper wire, Fresno, Calif., is seeing a spree of theft. According to a recent article in The Fresno Bee, the city has lost more than 40 miles of copper wire to the thieves to date.

With the current price of copper wire at $3 to $4 a pound, many are coveting the metal. Each streetlamp has about 30 to 40 pounds of wire, according to Mike Kirn, city engineer. The thieves only have to open a box at the base of a streetlamp, cut the wire and pull it out.

One neighborhood that has been hit hard is facing dark streets—a public safety concern. Sprinkler systems, which are powered through the wire, have been affected as well, leaving the city’s landscaping dry. Arrests have been made, and undercover police have frequented scrap yards where the wire is thought to be sold. The trend seems to be nationwide, according to Fresno Police Captain Keith Foster. For now, special locks are being placed on the lampposts.           -Information Inc.


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