Copper wiring is being stolen from West Kelowna streetlights at great cost to the district and its taxpayers, according to the municipality.
Sometime overnight last Monday and Tuesday, thieves stole copper wiring from 18 streetlights on Asquith Road in Shannon Lake, five lampposts on Glenrosa Road between Walnut Glen Drive and Glen Abbey Place and eight on Westlake Road between Starlight Crescent and Peak Point Drive.
West Kelowna spokesman Jason Luciw said several lampposts were also hit in the Diamond View strata development.
Luciw said while the district is not responsible for repairing streetlights in strata developments, it wants to encourage all residents throughout West Kelowna and elsewhere on the Westside to be vigilant in reporting suspicious activity to the RCMP in an effort to catch those responsible for the copper wire thefts.
According to police, the thefts resulted in $20,000 worth of damage to the street lights. Luciw said West Kelowna is still waiting for the work to be done before final figures are known, but more than half of the cost mentioned includes labour and repair to the light and cover, with the actual cost of the copper wire at less than $10,000.
The thieves struck either late at night or in the early hours of the morning and targeted new developments and sections of street where there are no, or few, residents in the hopes their actions would remain unnoticed, said a news release issued by West Kelowna.
Luciw noted the district is looking at trying to improve the security on the outlets. Some of the areas hit were developments where no one is living, but people do walk there at night.
“We’re working on it fairly quickly, because we’ve got residents that aren’t overly thrilled.”
The district says its employees do not work on streetlights at night and any one who sees such work at night is asked to contact police if they suspect a copper wire theft is occurring.
If residents notice burnt out or vandalized streetlights in their neighbourhood, they are encouraged to call the district’s operations department at 778-797-8849 so the lamp posts can be repaired.
A number of street lights went out in West Kelowna this past week as a result of copper-stealing culprits.
Police are investigating the thefts but have no witnesses or information to focus on at this time, they say.
The RCMP is appealing to the public to come forward with any information regarding the thefts.
West Kelowna contracts a private electrical company to maintain its street lights and all of the company’s vehicles are prominently marked.
According to police, removing wiring from streetlights is not an easy task, so the work would be noticeable.
If the public sees several streetlights in a row not working at night, it could be sign of theft and the police want to hear about it. Anyone with information is asked to call the West Kelowna RCMP 250-768-2880, or Crime Stoppers.