Carlsbad city officials are asking for the public's help in thwarting and catching copper thieves, who have stripped about a dozen street lights of wiring.
The thefts began in the summer, when the culprits stole wire that connects lights on La Costa Avenue between Interstate 5 and Carlsbad Boulevard. The thieves have hit about a half dozen locations around the city racking up about $40,000 worth of damage to city property.
Besides La Costa, other locations where wire was stolen are Tamarack Avenue west of El Camino Real, Faraday Avenue south of Cannon Road, and Poinsettia Community Park, where copper wire was stolen from lights that illuminate the ball fields.
The thieves typically take covers off utility boxes, clip the wires and pull them out of an underground conduit – sometimes by attaching them to a vehicle, city officials said.
“The city is taking preventive measures to make it more difficult to remove the lids,” said Transportation Superintendent John Maashoff. “The lids are heavy and hard to lift, so if we even slow the process down, it may stop a theft.”
have also increased surveillance around the lights and are asking the public to be alert and report any suspicious activity around city streetlights, in city parks or around city facilities, especially at night.
Carlsbad isn't the only city experiencing such losses, and police believe that the rising price of copper has made such thefts more attractive.
The crooks could be wearing hard hats or dressed as utility workers. All city or utility vehicles have a city seal or logo on them. Carlsbad police can be reached at (760) 931-2197.
City News Service and City of Carlsbad contributed to this report