Copper Thieves targeting Tulsa Highway Lights
Highway street lights around Tulsa are now major target for copper thieves, according to city officials. "What we see with our highway lighting is two major issues- one is copper theft and other is aging infrastructure," said Michelle Allen, with the city of Tulsa. Allen said copper thieves are targeting lights along highway 75, I-44, I-244, and other major intersections. "What we're seeing with our copper theft is people are going in, stealing those wires, cutting through the system to get to them. That causes a lot of issues for our crews to repair those- it takes a long time to repair those," said Allen. Allen said it takes city crews longer to replace those lights because it requires getting new parts and wires. "We have to get new product, labor, it's very time consuming for them to have to replace all of this wiring across the city," said Allen. Ultimately, Allen said, the person footing the bill for the thefts, "It costs the taxpayers and citizens thousands of dollars a year just to replace this theft." Allen said the city has started to replace the copper wiring with aluminum. "Some people have cut the system- see it's aluminum and they just leave," said Allen. Allen said the city is also working with the Tulsa Police Department.