Authorities working to fight copper wire theft and vandalism rising in Houston

Brandon Hamilton Image
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
HPD says there's been an uptick in copper wire theft
The Houston Police Department is partnering with the Harris County Sheriff's Office and Crime Stoppers to investigate copper wire thefts in the city.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Law enforcement is noticing a rise in a crime known as "infrastructure vandalism," which usually involves a valuable metal -- copper wire.

The Houston Police Department said there's been a concerning uptick in copper wire theft, adding that thieves often dress as workers and pull them straight from the pole.

In a joint press conference Wednesday, ABC13 learned from HPD that there have been 38 reported cases in the last 12 months. But there are possibly more cases as they are continuously being reported.

There is a newly formed partnership with HPD, the Harris County Sheriff's Office, and Crime Stoppers to investigate these cases.

Fiber optic cables are also being targeted.

SEE ALSO: Houston-area businesses without power after thieves steal copper wire off utility pole

Houston-area business owners are frustrated and have to readjust after thieves left them without power when they took copper from a utility pole.

Police say a single cut can lead to widespread disruption to vital services, including emergency aid. The thieves are said to be taking the wire and selling them to scrapyards.

"When citizens see people out there working on the line, doing something on the telephone pole - one of the main things is, these guys aren't in uniform. They're not dressed to be working in high voltage environment," Sgt. Bob Carson with HPD said. "We ask that you call us. We will come out and see if they're legitimately allowed to be on that line. We'll verify their work order."

HPD also mentioned a story that aired only on ABC13 last month about these thefts that led to multiple arrests.

READ MORE: Thieves targeting copper wiring 'huge problem' for Houston-area internet provider, company says

A Houston-area internet provider says they're facing a huge theft problem that leaves customers without service.

Anyone who calls Crime Stoppers with a tip on these thefts will be offered up to a $15,000 reward.

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