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Thieves Vandalizing Lights For Copper Wiring
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Thieves are stealing copper wiring from streetlights and commercial air conditioning units on roofs, according to Riverbank Police.

During the last two weeks, they have stripped wiring from air conditioning units on roofs at the Crossroads Shopping Center. Now they are vandalizing streetlights on Oakdale Road and behind the Galaxy Theatre on Patterson Road, said Sgt. Vincent Kimbrough.

He said 18 or 20 street lights have been put out of action and estimated the loss of copper at $20,000 to $30,000.

"The price of copper is at $3 per pound now. It's usually around $2. Once it rises, theft goes up too," he said. "You can get 40 to 50 feet of wiring out of one pole."

Buyers of second-hand copper and other expensive metals are supposed to query the seller on where it came from and other information but don't always do so, he said.

"You just don't find a reel of copper wiring lying at the side of the road. It has to come form somewhere," he commented.

Weighers of copper, brass, tin, etc. must be certified and licensed by the state and keep records. But copper sold for around $3 per pound here, can be passed onto the San Francisco area were it will bring double the price.

There is a trend in copper theft. Riverbank is not alone. Elk Grove, for instance, recently lost the wiring in 50 streetlights.

Kimbrough asked residents to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and call the police if they see anything that looks like the theft of wiring from lights, air conditioners or other electrical equipment.