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Santa Monica City Council Earmarks $45,000 to Repair Copper Theft Damage

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By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

December 2, 2013 -- The City Council Tuesday approved $45,000 worth of repairs to Santa Monica’s street lights after thieves seeking the copper wiring inside left residents in the dark.

With the price of copper up to more than $3 a pound, the street lights’ internal wiring had become the target of a wave of thefts that began in September.

“Police reports have been made and countermeasures have been taken to secure wiring against theft, but the recycling value of copper… has led to an unprecedented series of wire thefts in Santa Monica,” staff said.

Still, no “significant arrests” have been made in the ongoing investigation, according to police officials.

When The Lookout first reported the crimes in October, the thieves had made off with about $25,000 worth of copper wiring, following the thieves’ October 1 score. (“Copper Thieves Leave Santa Monica Residents in the Dark,” October 4)

Residents of the 800 block of Yale Street reported that their street lights had gone out, which police later confirmed was the result of stolen wires.

Since then, officials said, there have been more thefts, though they did not disclose the exact locations.

Santa Monica Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Jay Moroso said he also wasn’t immediately able to determine the exact value of the additional stolen wire.

There’s the “copper wire itself and then the cost of hiring people” to install it, he said.

The $45,000 approved by the City Council Tuesday was for materials only.

“As of early November, staff has purchased approximately 95,000 feet of replacement wire and related supplies,” staff said.

City Hall purchased the items from Electric Supply Connection, with which the City has a contract.

“With a store location one mile from the City Yards, Electric Supply Connection has served as a key supplier for many years, allowing staff to quickly make repairs and replacements to City electrical equipment at reasonable cost,” staff said.


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