Rising copper prices and a bad economy are giving thieves reason to rob Interstate-95 of its copper wiring, used in overhead lights.
According to CBS Miami, the larceny of over 175,000 feet of copper wire has rendered useless the lighting over a 33-mile stretch of Palm Beach County. The thievery has taken place over the last six months in 18 separate locations.
“Obviously, the economy has driven this,” Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Tim Frith said, referring to the recent increase in this criminal activity. “It does present itself as a kind of crime of convenience.”
Palm Beach County isn’t the only stretch of I-95 where this is a problem. The South Carolina legislature recently enacted the “Copper Theft Bill“, which looks to curb copper theft and make it easier to track scrap metal transactions.
Additionally, The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has set up ScrapTheftAlert.com, a website where law enforcement in the U.S. and even Canada can report scrap metal thefts. This information is passed to recycling plants near the incident. People selling scrap metal to plants must provide government issued photo I.D.