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Sacramento Tries To Stamp Out Copper Theft

A City of Sacramento employee pulls cooper wire through a box that will provide power for a city street light in Natomas. The light had been out because copper thieves had stolen the wiring that is needed to provide power.


The City of Sacramento is trying to make it tougher for copper thieves to sell stolen wire.  All wire installed in city boxes from now on will be stamped with the words, “City of Sacramento.”

Steve Harrold is with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office.  He says the stamping will help reduce the number of thefts and increase the number of successful prosecutions. 

“Now we have a clear identification of a crime victim which in the past to some extent has stymied our prosecutions.  We would encounter individuals with product -with wire product with no insulation and we couldn’t determine where it came from and/or if it was contraband.”

Harrold says two dozen metal thieves and recyclers have been convicted of felonies since 2011.

Since 2010 thieves have stolen an estimated one-point-seven million dollars worth of copper wiring.  The thefts resulted in the outages of 20,000 street lights.

0627 bm copper wiring

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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