October 4, 2013
21ST CENTURY OUTLAWRY: Copper Thieves Live Life On The Edge. “The lights went out across the University of California at Berkeley campus the other day, in an incident that included an explosion and fire with two-story flames that injured four and sent one person to the hospital. The probable cause was the theft of a considerable amount of grounding wire from the campus electrical system. (When you do cutting edge physics and so forth, you need a pretty heavy-duty electrical system.) . . . The thieves may have used heavy machinery to unearth the wire before they stole it. Nor is this the first time that something like this has happened; robbing power substations and similar installations seems to have become nearly epidemic. . . . During much of the Great Recession, copper thieves systematically stripped foreclosures and abandoned houses of their valuable wiring, but that source is running low. Rather than shift to some other line of business, some of the more organized gangs seem to have set their sights on live power lines. This seems completely insane, because it is.” This seems kinda third-worldish to me.