Police warn of stolen Hydro uniforms amid rash of copper thefts

Five copper wire thefts from B.C. Hydro in Greater Victoria so far this month

A number of B.C. Hydro employee uniforms have been recently stolen from work vehicles, which is how, police say, thieves have been able to successfully steal sizeable amounts of underground copper wire undetected.

“Hydro’s had some of their jackets and vests go missing from trucks, of late. It might explain why these thefts aren’t being reported,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen.

Three-thousand pounds of copper wire, 300 metres in length, was stolen from the 4000-block of Borden St. recently. It was reported to police on Wednesday afternoon.

“We really want people out there to keep a watchful eye on their neighbourhood. If you see crews working at unusual hours and it’s not in relation to an obvious power outage, call police,” Jantzen said.

Hydro crews also reported that underground wiring was cut at McKenzie Avenue and Century Road.

“It does seem that these things happen in waves. And this is likely one sophisticated group going around doing this in various communities,” Jantzen said.

According to B.C. Hydro, five separate thefts of underground wire have been reported in Greater Victoria this week – two in Langford, two in Esquimalt and one in Saanich.

“We’re approaching $100,000 worth of wires in lost copper (this month in Greater Victoria),” said Bob Harriman, chief security officer for B.C. Hydro. He says that cost is inclusive of the original stolen wire and the replacement costs.

On Jan. 5, it was reported that 5,000 pounds – or 770 metres – of copper wiring was stolen from the Westhills area of Langford.

West Shore RCMP said that theft likely took three days to complete. It was described, by B.C. Hydro, as one of the largest copper thefts ever on Vancouver Island.

Harriman says a number of uniforms and safety equipment were stolen from a construction trailer in Langford last July.

“If the public saw a B.C. Hydro crew, they should be able to recognize if it’s a modified crew or not. There would be a clearly marked B.C. Hydro truck, a crew with uniforms, lights, barricades and safety cones,” he said, presuming that whomever is stealing their wire doesn’t have all the necessary equipment to properly portray a legitimate B.C. Hydro crew.

“It is a B.C. Hydro top priority to support the police forces to identify these criminals. It is an organized crew and a very specialized crew committing this crime,” Harriman said.

Ellice Recycle acting general manager Gary Leibel said they alert other recycling outfits if people try to sell suspected stolen property.

“If anything looks suspicious, we call the police,” Leibel said. “Anything like thick, brand new wires signals something is not right.”

The value of the Borden Street copper is estimated at $10,000.

Anyone with information on the copper thefts is asked to contact Saanich police at 250-475-4321.

– with files from Edward Hill


Just Posted

Hillside Avenue death ruled a homicide, police say

No charges have yet been laid in the killing of Victoria man Joe Gauthier

Hope gets eight year sentence for Church Avenue sex assault

Eight years is the sentence for David Robert Hope, who was found… Continue reading

Short-term rental market up for changes April 1 in Victoria

Bylaw amendments hike fees, require homeowner’s presence

Colwood wins Victoria Flower Count for a five-peat

The 43rd annual Flower Count had over three billion blossoms counted in total

Alcohol, swimming believed to be culprit for Wednesday’s near-drowning at Gorge

Emergency crews called to scene at Gorge Bridge to treat at least one person pulled from water

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 16, 2018

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

Dead rabbits found at Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds stoke concerns about Nanaimo virus

A B.C. wildlife veterinarian says a few of the dead bunnies will be sent for diagnosis next week.

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

B.C.-based CEO charged with conspiring to sell unhackable phones to criminals

Vincent Ramos of Richmond, was arrested last week in Seattle in years-long undercover operation

Most Read