Springfield City Utilities experiencing more copper wire thefts; West Bypass lights out

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 9:39 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - More street lights across Springfield are fading to black following a series of copper wire thefts.

City Utilities reported dealing with the crime back in October, but says it is an ongoing issue.

If you take a drive down West Bypass between Division and Kearney, you will see darkness and the occasional glimmer of distant lights.

”We still have thefts going on,” City Utilities spokesperson Joel Alexander said. “We still have people that are taking the underground cable from between street lights.”

This is exactly why all you see is darkness on a portion of West Bypass. The underground cables between those street lights are gone, but that is not the only way thieves are taking the copper.

”We also have people that are taking overhead cable from pole to pole,” Alexander said. “While both of those are dangerous, the overhead is particularly of interest because of how dangerous that is.”

While Alexander said it is incredibly risky, he said the thieves seem to be experienced.

“They’re people that know exactly what they’re doing,” he said. “They know the method to do it. They have the equipment to do it.”

Alexander said City Utilities and law enforcement do not believe thieves have any connection to CU. He said people can help keep a look out.

”All of our equipment is identified,” Alexander said. “All of our trucks that we have contracts with are identified. If you think something’s out of the normal, give 911 a call and let them know that. They’ll investigate it and we’ll investigate it too.”

He said each string of crimes can cost thousands if not several thousands. Alexander said the crimes ultimately impact the utility customer.

”Not only is the material hard to get from time to time,” he described. “You’re pulling our folks off of other projects that we have going on that need to be taken care of that are more priority. We’re going to get that taken care of, but it’s kind of a trickle down thing. We pull people off of one thing. We put them on another thing. We get the material in. And then there is the cost for customers. When you look at that, you’re diverting money from one project that may not get taken care of just because we’ve had someone take advantage of the situation.”

City Utilities says security and police have identified a few suspects. The thefts are still under investigation.

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