WEST PALM BEACH (CBS4) – In the last three to four months thieves have blacked out a 33 mile stretch of I-95 after they stole copper wire used to power 100 lights along the highway.
In order to prevent any more theft of copper wiring the county has contracted out to a Hialeah company for anti-theft devices; on Wednesday workers were busy installing them at the Okeechobee Boulevard interchange. Next week another company will start replacing the wiring.
Palm Beach County is not the only county to have their copper wiring go missing.
Miami-Dade has also been targeted. In the last year alone, 30 lights on the stretch of I-95 between NW 30th and 79th streets have been vandalized for copper.
License electrician Derek Lawson said those stealing the wiring are playing a dangerous game considering when the lights are on there can be up to 400 volts of electricity running through it.
“Very dangerous, you can lose your life. One hit, you won’t hear a noise, you won’t hear anything, it’s over, good night, that’s it,” said Lawson.
The Florida Highway Patrol said if you see a driver stopped near a light pole on I-95 give them a call right away so they can check it out. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has set up a website where law enforcement authorities in the United States and Canada can report thefts. The information is relayed to recycling plants within 100 miles of the incident.