Police Ask For The Public’s Help In Solving Copper Wire Thefts

October 7, 2008

Los Angeles:   The Los Angeles Police Department, City Councilmember Jose Huizar, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Bureau of Street Lighting are asking for the public’s help in solving a rash of copper wire thefts.  

The Hollenbeck area has seen a rash of copper wire thefts specifically from city light poles.  Since August of this year, eight copper wire thefts have been reported in the Hollenbeck area.  The most recent incident was reported on September 22, 2008 at Boyle Avenue and Short Street.  Witnesses have described the suspects as two male Hispanics, approximately 25 to 30 years old, driving a maroon van.

“Copper wire theft has become an alarming epidemic,” said Capt. Blake Chow, commanding officer of Hollenbeck Division.  “Since the increase in copper prices, thieves have been stealing copper wire from where ever they can.”  

The LAPD and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are working with the community in hopes of reducing and in solving these crimes, which often destroys city street lights and affects the community’s quality of life.  

“Copper wire thieves who target LADWP infrastructure steal directly from our rate payers,” said David Nahai, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the LADWP.  “These thieves risk their own lives by interfering with our power distribution and transmission systems.”

The most recent reported cases include:

August 29th to 30th at the 2300 block of East 7th Street
August 29th to September 2nd at 1600 East 6th Street
September 4th to 6th at Pecan Street and Kohler Street
September 7th at 6th Street and Breed Street
September 5th to 8th at the 1400 block of East 1st Street
September 9th to 17th at the 300 block of North Mission Road
September 10th to 22nd at 6th Street and Breed Street
September 22nd at Boyle Avenue and Short Street

“Often times as in some of these cases here, thieves are stealing wire from the city’s infrastructure that has a large negative impact upon community safety and lighting,” said Capt. Chow.

At a press conference earlier today, Capt Blake Chow and LAPD detectives were joined by Councilmember Huizar of District 14, representatives from the DWP and the Bureau of Street lighting to announce that have detained possible suspects, but are asking for additional witnesses to step forward to help in prosecuting these crimes.   

“By stealing copper wiring from light posts, these thieves are perpetuating crimes against entire communities,” said Councilmember Huizar.  “It’s going to take a community response to stop them.  We must all keep an eye out for suspicious activity.”

Anyone with information regarding these suspects is asked to call Hollenbeck Detectives at 323-526-3000. After-hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

Callers may also remain anonymous by texting “CRIMES” with a cell phone or by logging on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web Tips.