Light standards were out along Highway 19 for several days this week, leaving Vancouver Island drivers in a potentially dangerous situation.
According to Nanaimo RCMP, copper wire thieves are to blame.
The wire thieves reportedly stole over 2500 metres of wire and their handy-work knocked out a portion of Highway 19’s lighting for several days.
Police say the thieves got to work sometime overnight on Tuesday, April 11th.
This caused the power outage for the light standards on both sides of the highway near Ware Road.
The wire theft was reported to Nanaimo RCMP by Raylec Power, a company that specializes in traffic lighting and roadside light standards.
Police say the thieves pulled out the wire from 20 light standards and 12 junction boxes to amass their haul.
“Given the sheer volume of copper wire that was removed, the process would have taken a considerable amount of time and energy, and would have required at least a large full size truck and a minimum of two people,” said Reserve Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
Work crews returned to the site on the morning of April 11th to re-pull new wiring into the light standards and junction boxes.
The work took the crew two full days of labour until they reinstated power on the evening of Thursday, April 13th.
The electricians opted to use aluminum wiring this time around which has a considerably lower market value than copper does.
“This theft was not only significant in the amount taken but it also put the motoring public at risk as they travelled along a very busy highway,” said O’Brien.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP at (250) 754-2345.