Copper thieves hit Poway Veterans Park
By Barbara Norton
Copper thieves struck Poway Veterans park around Aug. 22, stealing the wiring from the lights that illuminate the flags so they can be flown day and night.
Raising and lowering eight flags at sunrise and sunset was not an option for the city because of lack of resources, so it was decided not to fly the flags until lighting is restored.
However, City Councilman Jim Cunningham is making sure the American flag is put up and taken down on a daily basis starting yesterday (Wednesday).
“I am absolutely outraged on many levels,” said Cunningham of the theft at the park. He noted how it impacts people who come to the park to view the tiles because there are no flags. He said it may take up to $4,000 to replace the wiring. The job may go out to bid or be handled by a maintenance agreement.
Poway has been a target for copper thieves.
“Copper thieves have stepped up their efforts, targeting street lights in Poway and costing the city over $50,000 in the last year,” said Leah Browder, director of Public Works. “Activity has been high in the business park; Blue Sky parking lot and surrounding Espola Road area; Espola Road in front of Poway High School and Veterans Park. The thieves appear to be familiar with the electronics of street lights, having avoided being shocked while removing wire so far.”
Browder said law enforcement surveillance has been increased and the public is being asked to report any suspicious activity around city streetlights, in city parks or around city facilities, especially at night when city workers are unlikely to be performing work on lights.
Suspicious activity includes: People lingering around city light poles, thieves could be dressed as construction workers; large trucks around light poles, especially if the trucks don’t display corporate emblems; and people appearing to work on light poles or pulling wire from light poles.
If you see anyone acting suspiciously around city light poles, get vehicle information, license plate numbers and descriptions of people involved and call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 858-565-5200, 24 hours a day, when the activity is taking place. For safety, do not confront anyone you suspect of stealing wire.
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