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Copper wire theft prevented at the Park

posted Feb 23, 2012, 8:23 AM by Cynthia Downing
Several weeks ago, thieves were preparing to steal the Park's copper wire.  The christy box covers had been removed and the electrical wire was pulled out.  The thieves were probably going to return at night to take the wire.  Thanks to Vern Grant, our Park President, the thieves were deterred.  Vern secured the christy boxes and light poles and prevented what would have been an expensive loss.
On February 8, Fresno City Councilman Andreas Borgeas held a community meeting at Bullard High School.  Borgeas presented the grim facts about copper wire theft.  Of approximately 41,000 street lights in the City of Fresno, 4,000 are currently out.  The City has been inundated with requests for repairs.  Due to the backlog, it's likely to take 8 to 12 months before street light repairs will be made.  While the lights are out, neighborhoods are dark and more vulnerable to crime. 
Each light costs approximately $400 to repair.  For an additional $20 per light, a theft deterrent can be installed.  Since copper wire thieves are costing the City an estimated $75,000 per month, City leaders are trying to find the money to install theft deterrents on all City-owned lights.  It's not clear if the County is running a similar program in County islands.
Mike Reid, the City's Police Captain for the northwest area, explained how copper thieves work.  They probably scout the area and cut the wire during the day.  They may be wearing bright orange vests so people think they're municipal workers.  However, they won't be accompanied by municipal vehicles.  They return to the area at night and remove the wire.  If you see a light that's out at dusk, thieves might be planning to strike that night.  The police recommend that neighbors stay vigilant and call if they see any suspicious activity.