The city of Arlington says a rash of recent thefts is putting the public’s safety at risk and costing taxpayers a pretty penny.
Arlington Public Works Crew Leader Ricky Balbo and his team are fed up. They’ve been swamped for weeks making repairs to streetlights all over Arlington that have been stripped of their wires.
“It needs to stop,” said Balbo.
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Thieves are targeting the wires because they’re made of copper, which they can sell for a nice chunk of change at scrap yards. And when they cash in, everybody else pays.
“We just replaced 5,000 feet [of wire] last week and it took us all week,” said Balbo. “That was with three guys working on it.”
Since September, the city has had to replace more than 10,000 feet of wire – and between labor and supplies, it’s costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Because the lights don’t work without the wire, this crime spree is also raising safety concerns.
“It’s dangerous to the public as far as driving and people walking goes,” said Balbo.
Arlington Public Works and police are stepping up their efforts to find the thieves, but they’re asking the public to keep an eye out as well.
“It is very conspicuous,” said Balbo. “The wire isn’t very small. If they’re pulling the wire out, you’re going to see them.”
He said it’s important to note the difference between a city crew working on a streetlight and a group of thieves trying to break into a light to steal wire. City crews will always be in a marked truck, will have orange cones set up, and will be wearing gear with the city logo on it.
If you don’t see those things, you should call police.