City Leaders Team Together To Stop Copper Theft In OKC
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City is cracking down on copper theft. Several of the city's leaders are collaborating in hopes of deterring theft.
Over the past eight months, thieves have stripped 13 miles of copper from city lights.
Oklahoma City’s Police Chief Bill Citty says they're teaming up against the problem.
“Primarily met with the mayor, because he is concerned and wants to push hard on trying to reduce a lot of the copper theft,” said Chief Citty.
Chief Citty says over the past four years, copper thieves have cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It's supply in demand. And if the cost is good, they are going to try to steal more of it,” said Chief Citty.
Streetlights have been stripped of the precious metal leaving much of the city in the dark.
“We have more people living downtown, more people coming downtown so, if you can’t keep the street lights on its a public safety issue,” said Chief Citty.
While OG&E is helping to stifle the problem by replacing copper with aluminum wiring, District Attorney David Prater is now helping to back their efforts by taking a harsher look at repeat offenders.
“At the same time, you don’t want to overdue the charge. If it's a first-time offense, we might charge them in our municipal courts. Second offense, we may take the same thing over to state court,” said Chief Citty.
The attorney general’s office has also been consulted in hopes they'll come down on those stealing and buying copper.
“If you’re not enforcing it state wide, it makes it easy for someone to steal metal from a city and sell it outside of Oklahoma City,” said Chief Citty.
Oklahoma City police are asking the public to report any suspicious behavior near the street lights.