Vallejo Points Finger at Copper Thieves

New signage in the city of Vallejo is pointing the finger directly at thieves.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jodi Hernandez
    Vallejo says it costs them $10 to make this sign.

    The next time you drive through the East Bay city you may notice professional streets signs that say "Signal lights are non functioning due to copper wire theft."

    It's the city's way of letting taxpayers know who to blame when their stop lights aren't working right.

    The copper thieves are taking advantage of the high price of copper and city workers simply can't keep up.  One example in Vallejo is Enterprise Street where lights have been dark since July. Workers finally got around to replacing them Tuesday. The city says in all, 77 locations have been hit since May.

    Vallejo said they make the "blame" signs and place them in areas they know they won't get to for awhile.

    Even getting the lights to blink red takes some work and is seen as a stop gap measure instead of the lights being completely out.

    Vallejo officials told the Times Herald it's bill is more than $200,000. "Each one of those traffic signals, to repair the damage, ... (copper thieves) probably get less than $25 worth of wire," Vallejo Public Works Director David Kleinschmidt told the paper. "And it sometimes costs up to $20,000 to repair those signals (for manpower and supplies)."

    BART told NBC Bay Area copper thieves hit them this morning, stealing two 20-foot sections of wire from the tracks between 12th street and West Oakland stations. BART says the tab is nearing $100,000 for the calendar year.