The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

June 1, 2010
Copper thieves make the lights go out

Lights are going out on neighborhood streets and baseball fields from Dixon to Davis to Folsom.

Davis officials report that five to six miles of copper wiring have been stolen from electrical boxes for streetlights and lights in the city's network of parks, trails and greenbelts. Now thieves are targeting wiring for sprinkler systems as well.

Grant Olson, senior electrician with Davis' Public Works Department, said the cost of replacing the wiring and repairing the systems is estimated at $50,000, and dark streets and trails are a safety hazard.

Olson said copper wire theft is along the Interstate 80 and Highway 50 corridors. "We believe it's organized," he said.

In Dixon, thieves have targeted lights along a city pathway, a Little League field and a portion of the business district. The damage totals about $11,000.

Folsom officials say such thefts have occurred on almost a weekly basis for the the past year.

Area recyclers have been alerted, but officials say wiring is difficult to trace.

Davis Police Sgt. Paul Doroshov advises residents to call police if they see someone who appears to be working on wiring, even if they think it might be a city electrician or contractor.

-- Cathy Locke

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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