‘A sign of the times’: Thieves steal copper wiring from utility poles for profit

Utility Pole

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — It’s a trend that is darkening roadways. Thieves are starting to steal copper wiring from utility poles, leaving streets and construction sites in the dark.

It’s a theft that Department of Transportation director Peter Alviti calls dangerous.

“It’s just another one of those challenges that we face,” Altivi told ABC 6 News.

Alviti said many of the thefts have been from construction sites in Providence.

“I don’t know what the motives are, I’d imagine there’s a profit as a motive in the people that are stealing it. But, it’s another sign of the times that we’re dealing with,” he said.

He said the wiring costs about $2 per foot to replace. The director noted it’s harming Rhode Islanders in several ways.

It’s an additional cost to taxpayers when the wiring needs to be replaced. On top of that, he said it’s a safety factor.

“When they remove it, the street lights in the area are live. Roads become unsafe for a period of time until we can repair it,” said Alviti.

Another area of concern Alviti added, is these live wires contain high power voltage.

“The people doing it apparently know their way around electricity because these are high voltage lines that they’re cutting. While they’re on which is very dangerous,” he said.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity near Department of Transportation construction sites is urged to call police.

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island