The alleged thieves use the cover of darkness to approach a light pole, then take a quick glance around to make sure nobody’s watching.
Using a crowbar or other tools, they pry open the Christy box — a concrete enclosure housing all the light’s wiring — next to the pole and see the valuable copper wire contained therein.
Some 600 feet away, they repeat the process at the next light and the crime of copper wire theft, which Madera police estimate has cost city taxpayers some $50,000 in the last five years, has begun.
“In the last two to three months we’ve really had a rash of copper wire theft,” said Philip Johnson, manager of electrical facilities for the city of Madera. “It comes and goes but in the last couple months it’s been pretty bad … I mean we have 3,000 street lights in the city so there’s a lot of places they can go to get this stuff.” ...