Copper theft technology used to thwart crime bonanza

Mar 17, 2013 - by - 0 Comments

March 17, 2013 Contra Costa Times

CONCORD -- Some Bay Area cities would like Daniel Meyers to be the new poster boy for copper thievery. In an era when copper thefts are soaring and thieves loot with near impunity, Meyers' arrest was surprisingly routine.

Police say that on May 21, Meyers cut and took $1,050 worth of copper wire from a rural area near Columbus Parkway in Vallejo, put the stolen goods in a Cadillac Escalade and drove to an apartment.

Thanks to tracking technology, police followed his every move. The 32-year-old was arrested a short time later. He has since pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial in April on charges of grand theft and receiving stolen property.

This electronic tracking technology is what Vallejo officials hope will put an end to the copper theft bonanza. Other cities also are eyeing the prospective solution to what has, in recent years, become a scourge that affects traffic lights, park lighting, building wiring and other public and private facilities that run on electricity.

Once a major component in making 1-cent coins, copper now is costing cities a pretty penny to replace. Thefts have soared along with the price of copper: The metal now goes for $4 a pound at salvage yards, nearly three times the price four years ago. But it's costing cities much more to replace.

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