Following several wire theft incidents along interstates and highways, area agencies are reaching out to the public for their help to catch thieves whose actions impact Oregonians not only in the pocket book but also with their personal safety.
ODOT has reported numerous wire thefts along Interstate 84, Interstate 205, and Interstate 5 as well as bordering bike paths. Working in cooperation with Oregon State Police (OSP) and Portland Police Bureau (PPB), ODOT is also offering a reward up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction for those crimes.
"These thieves are not only costing Oregonians thousands of dollars, they are also disabling safety lighting and highway signs used to get important messages to highway travelers," said Karla Keller, ODOT Maintenance Manger.
Wires have been severed, pulled out of conduits and removed, presumably
to sell for quick cash. So far this year ODOT has shelled out more
than $225,000 to replace stolen wires and damaged electrical systems.
Five years ago, ODOT reported virtually no loss from such thefts.
enforcement investigators don’t know if the thefts are connected, but
they are also concerned with the related safety impacts. "Bike and
pedestrian path lights may not be working, making someone an easier
target for being a crime victim," said Officer Catherine Kent, Portland
Thieves go to great lengths to steal wire and
other property, even staging work zones to provide opportunity, time
and cover they need to rip out the wires. A legitimate work zone
- Signs alerting you that you are approaching a work zone
- Proper lighting
- Orange cones, barriers, signs, etc.
- Workers/flaggers wearing orange, reflective vests, hard hats and safety equipment
- Vehicles with either exempt license plates and the ODOT logo or clearly marked with contractor names
can help by reporting suspicious work zones or area activity to law
enforcement. Investigators are asking people to watch for suspicious
activities along these locations such as:
- Non-ODOT vehicles parked on the shoulder with someone working near an electrical box
- Unexpected power loss to highway message signs or overhead lighting
person(s) carrying wire or metal objects near the highway Anyone with
immediate information of a possible crime in progress related to these
crimes should call 9-1-1.
Crime Stoppers is
offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to
Crime Stoppers, that leads to the resolution in this case. You may
remain anonymous. Anyone with information that could lead to an arrest
is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 503-823-0830.