Copper pirates steal from taxpayers -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Copper pirates steal from taxpayers

March 7, 2006

Albany -- Copper prices are the highest level in 25 years, bringing about $1.80 a pound at scrap yards, and that's prompting thieves to steal copper wiring out of city street lights.

Many lights are shot out, and now thieves are stealing the copper wires inside the lights. They will push the poles back and forth until it either falls over or the top of the light tumbles to the ground.

WG&L crews say they've been threatened while repairing the street lights. "We had a particular area where a lot of lights were being shot out. And we were told that if we keep coming back to fix the lights, they were going to start shooting trucks instead of lights," said Light Superintendent Jimmy Norman.

It can cost the city up to one thousand dollars a light to repair, and many times, the same lights are vandalized just nights after they're repaired.

Commissioner Bob Langstaff suggested installing cameras to catch the vandals and thieves on tape, but no final decision was made at today's work session.