The Nevada Department of Transportation has confirmed that dozens of roadside lights have been neutralized after copper thieves stole fundamental parts of the lights. In all, experts believe at least 50 lights have been impacted, and it’s likely that thieves will attempt to cause further damage in the coming days.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this type of offense is a victimless crime. Poor lighting can contribute to night time car accidents. On top of that, the cost of fixing up those lights will likely fall on taxpayers, and that cost will be hefty!
According to Jace Radke, a spokesman for the City of Las Vegas, the labor and replacement parts alone will cost at least $30,000 so far. Not only has there been substantial damage, but it’s spread out. Over 50 locations have been hit so far. Already, over 900 hours of work have gone into replacing and repairing damaged lights.
Taxpayers aren’t the only ones who suffer. On top of that, private businesses have had to pay thousands of dollars to make private repairs.
Why Are People Stealing Copper? Is it a Serious Crime in Nevada?
Stealing copper isn’t a new crime, but it is something that’s increasing in frequency. Many experts attribute this upward trend to the current economic situation. Inflation is high, commodities are doing well, and the pandemic has caused a lot of financial stress.
Copper is also hard to trace. Copper parts usually don’t have identification marks like serial numbers. Since copper is so common, it would be difficult to prove where copper came from if a suspect was caught with it.
What’s more, police say that copper theft that’s occurring in Nevada is often only charged as a petty theft or property crime. Petit larceny is a misdemeanor, but that doesn’t mean the sentencing is light. Depending on the situation, copper thieves could face up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
While stealing copper is often charged as a misdemeanor, buying stolen copper is a more serious crime. Getting convicted of knowingly purchasing stolen copper is a felony offense. This type of offense is rarely prosecuted, but police in Nevada are currently considering going after purchasers to help curb the recent spike in copper thefts.
Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney?
Have you recently been charged with stealing copper or knowingly buying stolen copper? If so, then it’s likely that local courtrooms will attempt to give you a harsh sentence to help deter other copper thieves in the area. One way to help fight back against your charges is to hire a criminal defense attorney in Nevada that can help.
Are you ready to discuss your situation one on one with one of best lawyers? Contact us now to learn more about how our firm can help you.