The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) has released information stating that its burglary detectives are seeing an increase in copper-wire theft, which is consistent with what appears to be a growing national trend, and the LBPD is cautioning businesses to take proactive measures.
Since the beginning of 2013, there have been at least 74 reported incidents of copper-wire theft in Long Beach. These thefts have occurred to schools, park light poles and commercial buildings, as well as vacant buildings.
According to detectives, the suspects involved in these incidents have become more sophisticated by scouting out locations that may be considered vulnerable due to lack of security or vacancy, and they are using tools and equipment to carry out the thefts.
A recent incident occurred at Coolidge Park in north Long Beach whereby suspects were captured on video. In the video, the suspects are seen approaching a light pole and then returning to their vehicle, placing what appears to be copper wiring in the trunk. Copper wiring was also stolen from a second light pole. The suspects, whose descriptions were undecipherable in the video, were driving a late 1980s, light-blue four-door Cadillac DeVille.
The LBPD is encouraging businesses to practice the following safety tips, which may prevent them from becoming victimized:
• Install a security alarm and camera, and ensure they are working properly
• Consider participating in the Community Camera Partnership program by registering cameras with LBPD (visit longbeach.gov /police/lbcop)
• Post signage that makes known the security measures that are in place
• Check on property regularly, especially if the property is vacant
• Secure any exterior electrical or utility boxes that may house wiring
• Report any suspicious activity immediately by calling 9-1-1
• Suspicious activity may include: vehicles parked around vacant buildings for extended periods of time and usually in the late-evening or early-morning hours, subjects on school or park grounds after hours or on the roofs of buildings, subjects loitering around cell phone towers or tampering with any electrical/utility boxes or covers without identifiable uniforms or service vehicles
Anyone with information regarding the Coolidge Park incident or any other copper wire theft incident are urged to contact the Long Beach Police Burglary Detail at (562) 570-7351. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.