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Copper thieves target BART train lines in Bay Area

December 6, 2011 | 10:48 am

Bay Area transit police were on the hunt Tuesday for copper thieves who are stealing the precious metal from tracks, sometimes while the trains are running.

Authorities reported two separate incidents in the last week involving bandits cutting cables and disturbing the train tracks, all in the quest for copper. 

The Bay Area Rapid Transit police were called Sunday after a driver operating a moving train spotted a man on the tracks. The man escaped but left behind damaged equipment, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Two days earlier, a transit police officer was patrolling a station at 2 a.m. when he noticed a suspicious pickup truck.  The officer questioned two people nearby in connection with possible copper theft, but they denied any wrongdoing.

Transit agencies in the Bay Area acknowledge that copper theft is common and has caused delays in some maintenance projects in the past.

Officials worry that the thieves run the risk of endangering themselves and train riders.

Damage from thefts can sometimes leave electrical wires exposed and cause service delays.


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Photo: A BART train sits in San Francisco. Credit: Robert Durell / For the Los Angeles Times.