Take one helping of an economy wrecked by rampant greed, reckless speculation, and failed policies, and combine that with financial and other markets distorted by the same toxic brew, and what do you get? Developments like these:
ANTIOCH – Just days after Pacific Gas and Electric lamented the ongoing and widespread theft of copper wire from its Antioch power poles, the utility is now revealing that a particularly brazen thief – or thieves – stole an entire transformer from a power pole.
This is in addition to the knocking down of an estimated 300 power poles, stripping them of their lucrative copper wiring.
There is copper wiring in the transformer, as well.
It’s a risky move, the utility warned, because it’s energized electrical wiring that’s being taken. In fact, people have been electrocuted or otherwise seriously injured attempting to lift the wiring.
It will cost PG&E tens of thousands of dollars to replace the downed power poles and stolen transformer. The price tag to replace just one power pole and its missing transformer: $12,000.
ALVA, FL-Thousands of dollars of your taxpayer dollars gone down the drain.
That's after thieves stole at least 10 storm drain covers from various Lee County locations.
Metal drains, grates, and covers the Florida Department of Transportation says at one time, they've all been stolen from swales and retention ponds in Lee County.
Now deputies say thieves have a new target storm drain covers or scuppers.
Debbie Towers with the Florida Department of Transportation says, "One of our maintenance crew members was doing routine checks for ditches and swales and and discovered that some aluminum scuppers were missing."
She says at least four thousand dollars worth were taken from 10 locations within the last two months from various retention ponds along state road 80.
Frank Neal, The vice president of the Charleston Park Neighborhood Association, says, "People are trying to survive."
Maureen O'Connor — A train derailed in Taunton, Massachusetts yesterday after thieves apparently used a blowtorch to steal two 8-foot, 900-lb chunks of solid steel track. Luckily, the train was moving slowly when the conductor hit the brakes, so no one was injured. Though this crime initially baffled me (what the hell would you do with a 900-lb railroad track?) Taunton's police chief barely batted an eye:
I'm not really surprised. It just shows you people do desperate things to get drug money.
Apparently scrap yards are the new pawn shops; metal theft the more desperate version of cat burglary. The thieves made off with one of tracks, and abandoned the second one in a field.
"Thieves Steal Copper Pipes from Church" (The Herald)
ROCK HILL -- Someone stole copper pipes from the air conditioning unit of a Rock Hill church late last week.
The pastor of Harvest Baptist Church, located on Miller Pond Road, said sometime between Wednesday night and Friday evening someone had cut and removed the copper pipe from the unit, according to a Rock Hill police report.
Officers noted that two copper pipes, valued at a total of $400, were missing. The pipes are about 6-feet long and 1-inch in diameter, according to the report.
HOUSTON—Two suspects, who were attempting to steal from a north Houston business, eluded capture early Thursday, according to Houston police.
A Houston police officer was doing regular patrols when he spotted two suspicious men at the fence of an alloy manufacturing business located on Priest at Hardy around 3 a.m.
The suspects bolted after seeing police.
The officer’s squad car was parked by the pickup truck the suspects were in, so the two left their vehicle and ran into the woods.
K-9 units and an HPD helicopter assisted in the search, but authorities could not locate the suspects.
Police ran the license plates on the pickup truck that was left behind, and the truck was not reported stolen.
Police said the suspects were using a dolly to move large steel plates from the business, which has lost an estimated $100,000 in merchandise recently.
"Metal Thieves Delay Opening of Atl. Pools" (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
Kids in two Atlanta communities won’t have their neighborhood pools to help beat the summer heat, at least for now. Thieves used what is believed to be sledge hammers to bust walls and break fixtures in bathrooms at Adams and South Bend parks to steal copper, brass and steel. The city is estimating damage at $85,000, reports WGCL-TV.
"Thieves Steal Copper Coils from AC Units in Ankeny" (Iowa City Press-Citizen)
Seven businesses at Ankeny's Delaware Town Center had no air conditioning for at least two days after copper coils were taken out of nine air conditioning units.
The damage to the units was discovered June 7. Police Chief Gary Mikulec said the thefts occurred throughout the night of June 6.
"The estimated replacement value of the units is about $10,000 - and that's for all the affected units," Mikulec said. "The estimated weight (that was taken) might yield $4,000."
Aspen Aire Heating and Cooling does service work for Nutrishop, one of the businesses that was a victim to the copper coil thefts. Aspen Aire President Justin Gibson said he's never seen anything like this theft.
"I mostly see people cut electrical wires for its copper from homes - seen that a few times this year," Gibson said. "I've never seen anyone steal coils out of a air conditioning unit. That's pretty gutsy in the middle of Ankeny."
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Thieves have been breaking into homes and businesses trying to steal copper pipes and wires for years, but now they have a new target -- cellphone towers.
"Here in the 3500 block of East Douglas, several cellphone towers were hit at this one location early yesterday morning," said Des Moines Police Sgt. Christ Scott.
Police said the two towers service Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. In the middle of the night, the phone companies were alerted of a power failure by alarms going off. They found the power meters pulled off and taken, the ground wires cut and all the copper gone.
The same night, another AT&T tower was stripped on Indiana St., according to police. About two weeks ago, thieves using the same method struck a different AT&T and Erikson service tower on the 1800 block of County Line Road. Police said at one tower alone, they took at least 150 feet of thick copper wire.
Scrap dealers said copper is now selling for between $3 and $4 per pound, and they pay cash. They said there's no way to tell if something is stolen because so many demolition and construction crews bring in scrap metal.
Three of four air conditioning units were stolen Friday night from the Salvation Army in Portland. Now, they're unable to cool their building as temperatures are expected to reach well into the 90's next week. To make matters worse, The Salvation Army in Portland is expecting more people to come through their building starting on Monday.
“It must of took quite an organization to get that much equipment out without being found,” said Maj. Jim Edmonds, the pastor at the Salvation Army in Portland.
The three air conditioning units weigh about 300 pounds each and sat on top of 8 ft. high platforms where the thieves had to dismantle them and remove them from behind a locked fence.
“If they put all that effort to helping people or helping themselves in a positive way, it would probably go a long way to being successful,” said Edmonds. “But evidently they're successful at doing the wrong things.”
But it's all good -- right?