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$40,000 of Copper Stolen from Carlsbad Streetlights

In one case, a copper thief left a potentially deadly, 240-volt line exposed.

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

M Clark November 23, 2011 at 01:03 AM
This is pittiful. Dark streets are less safe. We have a light on our street that was tampered with at Halloween but I believe the foolish act was to try to make their decorated house seem more scary. I called the public works dept and they aid it would be put on a list, now I can understand why it still is not repaired. Sounds like alot of work and money our community will miss being used for better things.
W. Mike Marshall November 23, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Hope one of these idiots accidentally grabs the "wrong wire" and get electrocuted!! Now that's what I call a good use of the death penalty via electrocution!!
donald Johnson December 02, 2011 at 08:25 PM
If you see someone pulling wire just give them an accidental shove onto the wire

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