SEATTLE - On this clear September day, sunshine lights the way for these soccer players. And for a time last spring, daytime was the only time anyone could play on the Delridge Playfields in West Seattle. Thieves ripped out the copper wire inside these metal light poles. Jesus Cortes said it prevented his Latino soccer team from playing here at night.
“All my friends tell me right now it's no lights here so play no more, to use those fields, at night.” said Cortes.
Last July, thieves struck Seattle Parks again. Their target was a pumping station on the banks of the Duwamish River. The wooden boards were pried off. Inside Seattle police found Anthony Eldridge and Johnathan Wetherell. They confessed they broke in to steal copper wire. Copper wire is stolen so often from so many places. It has many of us wondering who steals it and why.
Seattle defense attorney Jennifer Cruz was at the Delridge Playfields to watch her son play soccer. She said she represents copper wire thieves. She said they do it “to salvage it, to sell it, to get money and use it for drugs.”
Most are white male meth addicts, she said, 20 to 40 years old. They steal the copper wire to support their drug habits.
“You're not using common sense,” said Cruz. “And you're not doing anything rational. You're pretty desperate to make the money so you can get high.”
We don't know whether Eldridge and Wetherell are drug addicts. But both do have drug convictions.
As for the theft at the playfields, those thieves have not been caught.