by: Kevin McCarty Updated:
Lacey, Wash. - Police in Lacey nearly caught some prolific copper thieves in the act Tuesday, but not before they knocked out street lights in the north end of the city. Police said they believe these same thieves have struck as many as 20 times.
Police Lt. Phil Comstock said an officer cruising through the north end of Lacey in the 4100 block of Fremont Street saw the lights go out late Tuesday and started looking in the area for thieves, but was unable to catch them. The officer was able to recover some tools they used to cut wires connecting the lights to a power supply. Those tools were sent to a state crime lab to recover fingerprints and possible DNA to identify the suspects.
Comstock said thieves use the same methods each time to cut wires, then pull them from underground boxes. The thieves sell the copper to recyclers for cash. Comstock said each theft costs the city thousands of dollars in damaged property and repairs.