Copper Thieves Blamed for D.C. Power Outages

Thieves may have been posing as road crews

By Tonya LaFleur
|  Saturday, May 28, 2011  |  Updated 12:19 AM EDT
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Copper Thieves Blamed for D.C. Power Outages

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Mad about recent power outages in the District? You might be able to point your annoyance at copper thieves.

At least four times in recent weeks, electrical wire was taken from under city streets, according to The District Department of Transportation.

Just last week, copper was stolen at North Capitol and Irving streets, as well as South Capitol Street and Potomac Street. Both thefts caused the lights to go out.

Another theft involved sidewalk lights along Kenilworth Avenue NE between Foote and Hayes streets. There was also a case that involved the lights that power an I-295 overhead sign on Kenilworth.

The latest market price for scrap copper was listed at about $3 per pound.  That’s tens of thousands of dollars for the heists involving electrical wire in the District.

The heists may have been done right in front of you. DDOT officials believe some of the thieves may have posing as road crews.

The copper heists are also dangerous. One man suspected of trying to steal copper recently was treated for electrical burns at a local hospital.

“This is a community safety problem, and the cooperation of the public is critical,” said DDOT Acting Director Terry Bellamy. “We need drivers, pedestrians and residents to please call police if you see anything suspicious along our roadways.”

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