UPDATED: Blocks of wiring stolen from street light system in Alhambra

ALHAMBRA — A thief or thieves have stolen several blocks worth wiring from Alhambra’s street light system since the weekend, authorities said.
The thefts, which were initially believed to have caused more than $20,000 worth of damage, took place between Saturday and Tuesday, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
The first was discovered Sunday afternoon after resident reported the street lights in a neighborhood along the 1300 block of South Westminster Avenue and the 2800 block of Shorb Street, after residents contacted officials Sunday to report the street lights in front of their home never came on Saturday night, the sergeant said.
Police and work crews soon realized the outage was not a mechanical failure, but the result of about 2,000 feet of wire being stripped from the system, Johnson said. The wire was believed to have been taken sometime between Saturday morning and Sunday.
An even larger wire theft was discovered Tuesday, police said.
“The wires were removed on the east and west sides of Winthrop (Drive) between Poplar Boulevard and Conchord (Avenue),” Johnson said. The theft apparently occurred sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.
Wiring had also been stripped in the same area along Commonwealth Avenue between Winthrop Drive and Westmont Drive.
While no witnesses had come forward to provide a concrete link between the two wire theft incidents, though based on the close proximity and time frame of the crimes, “It’s certainly something our detectives are looking into,” Johnson said.
Police asked anyone who sees a suspicious person tampering with wiring to notify authorities immediately. In general, city work crews do not work after 3 p.m.
Additionally, police expressed concern over the possibility that wires left exposed by the thief or thieves could be energized and pose a danger. Anyone who sees exposed wires is urged not to touch them and contact police immediately.
As two unfortunate alleged would-be thieves demonstrated earlier this month, electrical wiring theft can be a dangerous endeavor.
A man was badly shocked Oct. 19 while attempting to steal wire from the abandoned Fred C. Nelles facility in Whittier, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Charles Quijada.
The previous weekend, another man suffered severe burns and was hospitalized in critical condition after he received a 12,000-volt jolt while trying to steal wiring from a Southern California Edison facility in the 9900 block of Beverly Boulevard in Pico Rivera on Oct. 13, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said.
But rising metal prices provide an incentive for thieves to cash in on ill-gotten copper.
According to Kitco, a Canadian precious metals company that charts the price of metals, copper was selling Wednesday for $3.30 per pound, up from about $3.05 as recently as August.
The price of copper has more than doubled over the past five years, according to Kitco data. Copper could be purchased in late 2008 for well under $1.50 per pound.

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