Copper Thieves Knock out 12 Streetlights in St. Paul

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"It will cost roughly $10,000 to repair the damage and fix the lights."

Police are investigating after copper wire was discovered stolen from about a dozen streetlights in St. Paul's Highland Park Wednesday.

It will cost roughly $10,000 to repair the damage and fix the lights, in the area of West Seventh and Davern streets, said St. Paul Public Works' Shannon Tyree. About a half-mile of wire was stolen, she said.

The theft is thought to have occurred between last Thursday and Wednesday. It was discovered when someone called to report the lights were out, Tyree said.

It's in the area of Sibley Plaza, a "very high-traffic area," she said. "We're not sure if they did it at night when the lights were on or if they did it during the daytime."

Repairing the lights will likely take about a week.

Wiring was last stolen from city streetlights a couple of years ago, Tyree said, adding that the department's traffic and lighting division reports it tends to occur when the price of copper increases.

Sharply rising commodities markets have sent the price of base metals, such as copper, up.

"We hope that people understand what kind of damage this causes and what kind of inconvenience it causes for people who don't have lights," Tyree said.

Public Works is looking at ways to safeguard its copper wiring, but Tyree said she couldn't discuss them for security reasons.

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