Langley copper heist begs question: “What the [expletive] were they thinking?”
By Anthony Capkun
March 7, 2014 – In a brazen act that us asking, “What they [expletive] were they thinking?”, the 5700 block of Production Way in Langley, B.C., looked like a war zone, as a BC Hydro crew and the RCMP investigated a copper wire heist that involved two powerline poles being chopped down, and three attached electrical transformers being opened and their contents stolen, along with the connecting cables.
The damage and repair costs are believed to be more than $75,000.
Members of the public and BC Hydro employees are put at risk, explained BC Hydro’s chief security officer Rob Marshall, because removing copper wire may mean removing critical safety measures (e.g. grounding). People could unknowingly come into contact with live electrical wires.
The good news, says BC Hydro, is the province’s metal theft law (which tracks scrap metal sales across B.C.), does help deter copper thieves while protecting 911 emergency service, preventing theft-related outages and saving utilities, municipalities and taxpayers millions of dollars per year. Since the introduction of this provincial legislation in August 2012, BC Hydro says it has seen a noticeable decrease in the number of incidents.
BC Hydro’s security team says it is also focused on prevention, working with telecom companies and law enforcement agencies to increase public awareness and share information. As Marshall explained, people are becoming more aware of metal theft, and are reporting suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood.
As another measure to deter thieves, BC Hydro is also actively replacing copper grounding wire with a multi-metal product that, it says, has no value for recycling.
As for the Langley heist, if you have any information, contact the authorities at:
• Langley RCMP at (604) 532-3200
• CrimeStoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477)