San Jose Neighbors Set Up Video to Catch Copper Thieves

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    Video Surveillance from Almaden Avenue in San Jose
    Video surveillance from Almaden Avenue in San Jose. April 1, 2014

    Thieves are ripping off copper wiring off of San Jose streetlights, and residents of a close-knit, active neighborhood are doing their best to catch the culprits and get their lights back on.

    Pete Kolstad, Market-Almaden neighborhood activist and retired tech engineer, and his neighbors have been training their video surveillance cameras on their sidewalks and streetlights, trying to capture whomever is breaking into the light boxes and stealing the valuable copper wiring. On   recent visit, 16 streetlights were dark in a two-block radius.

    On Tuesday, a video camera caught an image of a man bending over what appeared to be the base of a streetlight box in the sidewalk and an apparent accomplice on a bicycle nearby.

    A neighbor thinks the man ran into their yard, and he says he could identify the individual in a line-up.

    The images don't show the man's face in high detail. Still, neighbors turned over their video footage taken on Tuesday at 6:33 p.m. to San Jose police, whom they said are investigating the casePHOTO%3A+Pete+Kolstad.

    In addition to the video, Kolstad has taken it upon himself to write the thieves notes that say: "CAUGHT YOU! You cut the wires, but now you are going to be on camera. Go away." He then sticks these fliers into the open streetlight boxes.

    Coincidence or not, after Kolstad left his note, he found a bundle of wire which he believes was "returned" on the sidewalk Wednesday morning.

    According to Kolstad, the Department of Transportation was out this week to close up the boxes.