Copper wire thieves go on a spree in Covington
By TJ MARTINELL
Covington Reporter Reporter
July 19, 2012 · Updated 10:59 AM
Copper thieves have been on the prowl since May in Covington in parking lots for churches, schools and businesses, according to the Covington Police Department.
Covington Police Chief Kevin Klason stated in a telephone interview that the thefts are a part of a statewide trend where thieves steal copper wiring from light poles and then sell them at scrap metal yards in order to pocket the cash, which typically is then used to buy drugs.
“These dopers seem to have their own network,” Klason said. “Once one tries it and has some success for a while. Where it started I haven’t a clue.”
In order to get the copper wire, the thieves pull the plates off the poles, pull out the wiring and then pull out the copper wire, which can sometimes be several hundred feet.
The first theft occurred May 7 on the site of a Valley Medical Center project under construction. Two more on May 20 and May 30 occurred at the BPA facility off Covington Way and at Kentwood High. This was followed by five more thefts in June, which included a residential neighborhood, Kingdom Hall Jehovah Witnesses, St. John the Baptist Church and Cedar Valley Elementary.
After a week with no further thefts, Klason stated that they assumed the thieves had moved to another city until another theft occurred on July 13 in the parking lot by Trapper’s Sushi.
Although word has been put out about the thefts, Klason said, there are several difficulties preventing these thefts, which happen at night or in the early morning.
“In all but one of the instances there was no suspects or vehicles seen because the victims discover it generally the next morning because it occurs in hours of darkness,” Klason said.
Surveillance footage obtained from the Jehovah’s Witnesses shows some of the suspects, but Klason it was too distant to provide them with any distinguishing characteristics.
Klason said they have also checked with local scrap metal yards, but have no leads as of yet. Because of the seemingly arbitrarily chosen locations, it is hard for patrol officers to know where to look.
“We’ve got nowhere to figure out,” Klason said. “There’s no patterns besides the similarity of the items taken. We don’t have enough officers to have them sit in the parking lots. It’d be a shot in the dark.”
Anyone who has information on these thefts can call the Covington Police Department at 206-296-3311.
Contact Covington Reporter Reporter TJ Martinell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-432-1209 ext. 5052.