SEATTLE — Thieves looking for copper have found a new target: electric vehicle charging stations.
Seattle City Light says eight of its EV charging stations have been attacked since last March. The thieves are looking for what the utility company says is a small amount of copper.
The robbers attacked the charging station in Seattle’s Central District last weekend. And that was the second time thieves vandalized this EV charging station.
Now, EV owners find signs at EV stations indicating that they are not working.
“So, they come, they take an implement and they cut it off at the end,” said Jenn Strang, a spokeswoman for Seattle City Light.
She showed us what the thieves were looking for.
“So you can see at the end where there’s a small amount of copper,” Strang said, pointing to the remaining chunk. “But the rest is just an insulated wire.”
A small amount of copper and not a big return.
“What they think is very valuable turns out not to be valuable at all,” Strang said.
The value? “It’s about $10,” she said.
You can see the wires that the thieves are cutting at EV charging stations that have not been attacked.
Since March, thieves have attacked eight of the 13 charging stations Seattle City Light has around its service area. And it’s dangerous. Some electricity always flows through the wires.
Still, the crime doesn’t surprise custom furniture designer Joel Shepard, who works across the street from these stations.
“Well, if they’re going to take catalytic converters and take their chances there,” Shepard said, “why not take the easy ones?”
“I feel like that’s just a symptom of a bigger problem,” said Maddie Fives, Seattle, “which sucks because electric cars should have somewhere to charge. But we should do something about the people who need money, food and housing.”
Meanwhile, Strang says City Light is also planning a pilot program to create sidewalk EV stations that are essentially just a pole and a dropped hose.
“We will have 30 of the ones we are installing throughout the service territory,” Strang said. “And that will start as early as February.”
Theft is a very expensive crime for City Light. It costs $2,500 to repair these stations each time this happens.
There is another problem. This is happening in many places. Therefore, supply chain issues make it difficult to keep up with demand.
And, of course, this is a crime. If you know anything about these robberies, you should call the Seattle police.
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