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Trolley wire thefts create public safety risk in Vancouver

Last Updated Feb 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm PDT

(Courtesy Transit Police)

Trolley wires carry 600 volts of electricity; direct contact can kill someone

Latest trolley wire theft left live wires dangling over a sidewalk

It costs up to $50,000 to replace wires stolen from trolley lines

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – They carry 600 volts of electricity and can kill someone on contact.

Transit Police are highlighting how dangerous live trolley wires are and how thieves looking to profit off the copper are putting people at serious risk.

Police say over the past two years, they have investigated almost two dozen cases of trolley wire theft in Vancouver.

The most recent case was last week in the area of Blanca Street and West 7th Avenue, where two teenagers found and reported trolley wires left dangling only feet above a sidewalk.

“Trolley wires power electric buses and carry 600 volts of electricity. A person making contact with these live wires would likely be killed,” says Anne Drennan with Transit Police.

Anyone who sees dangling wires is warned not to touch them and call the police, who say the thieves may be “using sophisticated equipment and machinery and may look like legitimate utility workers.”

Transit Police say replacement costs for the wires can be up to $50,000. The thefts usually happen at night, and since the wire is hard to identify, investigators have had a difficult time tracking down thieves.

If you see anything suspicious, such as cutting, dragging or chopping trolley wire or unmarked vehicles involved with wire at night, is asked to call Transit Police at 604-516-7419, text 87 77 77 or call 911.