Copper Thieves Target New Stretch Of Road In OKC

Tuesday, July 29th 2014, 4:56 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City Police are looking for some copper thieves who hit an entire stretch of a new city road. And it turns out, Oklahoma City taxpayers will end up footing the bill.

More than two miles of the Crosstown Blvd. Bridge had to undergo repairs. It has only opened up a few months, and not many people know it exists yet. And that's why thieves probably had such an easy time hitting the brand new black light poles without getting caught.

“The thousands of dollars the thieves may have gained by stealing copper from these lights will cost two to three times that for the city to replace,” said Capt. Dexter Nelson with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

“They have to have workers come out to replace these lines. They've got to get into the poles and get underground to connect all that. So it’s going to take a lot more money to replace and repair this problem. More than the amount the thieves have netted from the thefts.”

It was actually some alert police officers that noticed the lights were not working and discovered the tampered wires. They then discovered thieves had also hit a stretch of light poles along the I-40 and the Agnew corridor as well.

“See, its plastic doesn't take a whole lot to remove it,” said Det. Sgt. Jeff White, who is with the metal theft unit, and can't believe the thieves got away with so much copper. “They just simply cut them and hope they don't get electrocuted in the process.”

And these exposed wires create a major safety hazard too, especially for any unsuspecting person who might come in contact with the dangerous high voltage lines. But that doesn't seem to stop the thieves one bit.

“These guys know what they're looking for. They cut the wires, possibly make a loop in the wires, tie them together and jerk them out,” said White.

Police tell News 9 they are working closely with the metal recyclers in town to try to catch the thieves red handed and weed out the legitimate metal scrap from the stolen copper.

Police say state law requires anyone who sells metal to the recyclers to present ID, so they are hoping that will help identify the thieves. And police say if you see anyone by these light poles and it looks suspicious, call police so they can get these thieves caught before someone gets hurt or killed.