Home » State cracking down on copper wire theft from highway lighting systems

State cracking down on copper wire theft from highway lighting systems

Offering up to $2,500 in reward money for successful tips

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2014) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and Kentucky State Police (KSP) are joining forces to stop the theft of copper wire from highway lighting systems.

In an effort to stop copper wire theft the two agencies are offering a reward of up to $2,500, paid from KYTC maintenance funds, for information leading to arrest and conviction of those responsible for copper wire theft from highway lights.

copper“The crime of copper wire theft from lights that illuminate our roadways is literally highway robbery of Kentucky drivers,” KSP Major Mike Crawford said at a news conference today. “This type of theft results in damage that far exceeds the salvage value of the wire.”

Nancy Albright, Deputy State Highway Engineer in charge of operations and maintenance, said KYTC engineers estimate that thieves have caused at least $2 million in damages in the last four years. In 2014 alone, thieves have pillaged entrance and exit ramp lights on our interstate highways at least 37 times.

“The cost of replacing wiring and repairing vandalized lights comes from the cabinet’s highway maintenance budget,” Albright said. “In other words, motor-fuels tax money that Kentucky drivers pay at the pump – money that we need for such work as snow and ice removal, potholes and guardrail repair – instead has to be spent to remediate crime scenes.”

Also of concern is the safety of motorists.

“Imagine the difficulty for a driver who has to navigate an interchange – possibly an unfamiliar interchange – in greater darkness,” Albright said.

KYTC Acting Inspector General Mike Duncan said no one except an authorized work crew should be accessing interstate lights.

Work crew personnel will be in clearly marked vehicles from KYTC or the cabinet’s two electrical maintenance contractors – Arrow Electric Co. and Davis H. Elliott Co. Contractor employees are likely to be working from a service truck, characterized by side-mounted bins, or a “bucket” truck. Vehicles will utilize flashing lights while at work.

In addition, workers will be wearing personal protection gear, including high-visibility attire and hard hats. They also are likely to have exercised some level of traffic control, such as orange traffic cones.

Those with information can report it in multiple ways:

  • Call the KSP Hotline at (800) 222-5555.
  • Call Investigator Chuck Hines, KYTC Office of Inspector General, at (502) 330-0441 or (502) 564-0501.
  • By confidential text message to 67283. Type KSPTIP in the message field, leave a space and enter information about a crime. If the tip goes through, the sender will receive an instant confirmation text.