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Thread: Copper Theft

  1. #1

    Default Copper Theft

    Saw the news report of the continued problem from copper theft along I-40 and the problems it presents with lighting. I wonder why there isn't a strict policy from those who buy copper to determine where those who are selling salvaged copper attained it? How do copper thieves sell stolen copper so easily?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    The state did adopt a new law about 4 years ago:

    The new law requires scrap dealers to be licensed through the state, begin writing checks to people selling over $1,000 of copper and verify that seller's identity.

    Those caught pretending to be someone else would now face felony charges.

    The bigger question is how other states and cities deal with this problem. It is not unique to OKC and in 25 years in California I never saw so many streetlights out as here.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    It seems like we're in a time warp here where we don't /won't tackle this on-going issue. Other states have it under control but we cant? I don't get it. Seems like strongly applied pressure needs to be toward copper scrap dealers. There must be a major loop hole in the process somewhere along the way. Ridiculous.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    I don't know if other states have it under control or if they are just more diligent about fixing the problems when they happen.

    At least here, these things are left for years and seemingly indefinitely until a light was recently shined on this problem.

  5. Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I don't know if other states have it under control or if they are just more diligent about fixing the problems when they happen.

    At least here, these things are left for years and seemingly indefinitely until a light was recently shined on this problem.
    Ha, good one! Wondering if the streetlights are still being reported/fixed or if that's tapered off back to the way it was?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    The state did adopt a new law about 4 years ago:




    The bigger question is how other states and cities deal with this problem. It is not unique to OKC and in 25 years in California I never saw so many streetlights out as here.
    Totally agree, most places I've been it's never been like this. Surely there is a way to stop the copper bleed from the lights (redesign, higher access panel, etc)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by OKCbyTRANSFER View Post
    Totally agree, most places I've been it's never been like this. Surely there is a way to stop the copper bleed from the lights (redesign, higher access panel, etc)
    It wasn't this bad here a few years ago.

  8. Default Re: Copper Theft

    I don't at all want to be heartless about this as I know he surely had a family and people who loved him - though to me stealing copper is no different than stealing stop signs or other anti-social behavior with a potentially homicidal bent - but I was morbidly curious as to whether copper theft would drop dramatically when the guy electrocuted himself a few weeks ago at Reno and Eastern. In other words I wondered how many people are doing it and if it might have been mostly one person. It has to be a very specialized and risky task. The voltage is no joke.
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

  9. #9

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I don't know if other states have it under control or if they are just more diligent about fixing the problems when they happen.

    At least here, these things are left for years and seemingly indefinitely until a light was recently shined on this problem.
    -There would have been a light shined, but someone stole the wiring. . .

    I take it the lights on I-40 are still not functioning?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    I don't know about I-40 but I was driving downtown last night near the Myriad Gardens and almost hit someone who walked out into the street where it was so dark I had a very hard time seeing them.

    I made it a point to look and this was actually a Project 180 area and there were several lights out and one flickering.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Realistically, many cities have turned to using copper clad steel cable, which has significantly less value for the thief. I honestly do not know what policy the street department or the state highway department has regarding the wiring but replacement costs would seem to dictate policy.

    For the life of me, I still can't imagine how someone managed to steal the wiring for I-40 without being noticed. You don't just pull up to a access point and pull out hundreds of feet of large gauge electrical cable, yet someone did.

    Apparently, Tulsa has the same problem:

    https://ktul.com/news/local/street-l...nt-wire-thefts

  12. #12

    Default Re: Copper Theft


  13. #13

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    In addition to the news stations just showing pictures of dark roadways because of this practice, they should go head and show photos of what could happen to you if the cops don't get to you first.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    This would be a good issue for Mayor Holt to take up and get behind in a strong way. As a former state senator, I would think he would have the knowledge on how to get things done with the department of transportation in those areas that are its responsibility. The dark areas along so many streets and thoroughfares has a certain third-world quality to it. The lights on the north side of Hefner Dam along Hefner Road are still out. Very dangerous.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Great idea!
    Quote Originally Posted by Hondo1 View Post
    This would be a good issue for Mayor Holt to take up and get behind in a strong way. As a former state senator, I would think he would have the knowledge on how to get things done with the department of transportation in those areas that are its responsibility. The dark areas along so many streets and thoroughfares has a certain third-world quality to it. The lights on the north side of Hefner Dam along Hefner Road are still out. Very dangerous.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Drove up Western from the south last night, through the Wheeler District (dark), over the river & I-40 (dark), Western to the detour (dark), east on 5th to Walker (dark), up Walker to Midtown (dark until Sheridan, some lights on through to Main, but quite a few we're out). Just not a very good impression if you're using one the two ways coming into the city. Glad I knew where I was going, just sad. Even in areas they work are supposed to be improved upon (P-180) many lights down town are still out.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I don't know if other states have it under control or if they are just more diligent about fixing the problems when they happen.

    At least here, these things are left for years and seemingly indefinitely until a light was recently shined on this problem.
    It's a relatively recent thing here for it to be this bad. Up until the past year or so, most of the lights were working other than the new area of I-40 near the skydance bridge, which hasn't worked since I moved back here in 2012.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Copper theft is an international epidemic. And thieves are getting electrocuted all over the place. Some areas are shifting to aluminum wires.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    I have no idea how much damage copper theft causes to the light fixtures or how much stolen copper has to be replaced. I'm sure it's probably all significant but I wonder why does it take so long to get the service restored? Is there no copper available to replace what was stolen? You would think ODOT or whomever would fast track the repairs for safety sake at the very least.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by Hondo1 View Post
    You would think ODOT or whomever would fast track the repairs for safety sake at the very least.
    I suspect the issue is like that of potholes. If someone has reported it to the city, and they have failed to address the issue in a timely manner, the city incurs liability.

    Just one good wreck on a dark section of I-40 through the center of town, would make for an expensive lawsuit. Especially when the issue is well known and has been reported on multiple media venues.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by whorton View Post
    Realistically, many cities have turned to using copper clad steel cable, which has significantly less value for the thief. I honestly do not know what policy the street department or the state highway department has regarding the wiring but replacement costs would seem to dictate policy.

    For the life of me, I still can't imagine how someone managed to steal the wiring for I-40 without being noticed. You don't just pull up to a access point and pull out hundreds of feet of large gauge electrical cable, yet someone did.

    Apparently, Tulsa has the same problem:

    https://ktul.com/news/local/street-l...nt-wire-thefts
    Had to go to Tulsa Monday night to pick up the wife at the airport. She couldn't get on a flight to OKC. Flight was due in about 11 p.m. So, left OKC about 9. Live in far sw OKC, so drove through OKC and Tulsa both up and back. I would estimate 75% of the lights on the interstate and freeways were out/dark. In many stretches and especially the huge interchanges it is very dangerous and hard to see very well at all. It is unimaginable that the state/ODOT can't remedy this situation and let's it go on and on like it is. A major black eye for OKC, Tulsa, and the state of OKla for people from out of state. And, like I said VERY DANGEROUS for everyone.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by SOONER8693 View Post
    Had to go to Tulsa Monday night to pick up the wife at the airport. She couldn't get on a flight to OKC. Flight was due in about 11 p.m. So, left OKC about 9. Live in far sw OKC, so drove through OKC and Tulsa both up and back. I would estimate 75% of the lights on the interstate and freeways were out/dark. In many stretches and especially the huge interchanges it is very dangerous and hard to see very well at all. It is unimaginable that the state/ODOT can't remedy this situation and let's it go on and on like it is. A major black eye for OKC, Tulsa, and the state of OKla for people from out of state. And, like I said VERY DANGEROUS for everyone.
    Then I guess it is a black eye for highway and city administrators all over the country. You act like this is isolated to OK. It is not.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover View Post
    Then I guess it is a black eye for highway and city administrators all over the country. You act like this is isolated to OK. It is not.
    So, I guess you think that makes it acceptable here too? If that be the case you are wrong.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by SOONER8693 View Post
    So, I guess you think that makes it acceptable here too? If that be the case you are wrong.
    It isn't acceptable anywhere. But the reality is that it is causing problems all over, and not because people are ignoring the problem or acting irresponsibly in addressing the problem. It is a world wide problem lots of communities are dealing with and haven't yet found a good way of dealing with.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Copper Theft

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover View Post
    Then I guess it is a black eye for highway and city administrators all over the country. You act like this is isolated to OK. It is not.
    I don't remember this being any sort of issue in California.

    When I moved back here I noticed the difference immediately, and commented on it.

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