Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Copper theft an inside job?

From Crains:

Insurance claims for metal thefts across the country have skyrocketed from about 13,000 from 2006 to 2008 to about 25,000 from 2009 to 2011, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks such thefts, though not specifically for rails. Nearly 96% of the more recent claims were for copper.

Along New York City's 840 miles of subway tracks, there have been a dozen such rail thefts in the past year.

In the May 26 heist in the Howard Beach section of Queens, the rubber-shrouded cable had an estimated combined weight of 1,500 pounds that could fetch about $4,500.

New York transit police would not speculate on whether the caper could have been an inside job, but it appeared to have been pulled off over at least a couple of nights by people who had enough knowledge of the system to avoid getting caught or "fried."

They targeted a stretch of track not covered by security cameras, next to a parking lot. Investigators found a hole in the fence they believe the thieves may have used to enter the tracks, then to flee. The culprits also apparently tampered with a nearby electrical box.

Sgt. Kevin Cooper, a veteran investigator on the case, said trains didn't stall immediately because redundancy in the power system allows them to keep moving for possibly another day after copper is removed.

There are other risks. If electrical current can't complete a circuit, it will seek another route, sometimes damaging the signal system. And if a train's brakes go into sudden emergency mode, riders can suffer injuries.

While police seek suspects, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that runs the subways is installing more high-intensity lighting and surveillance technology in vulnerable locations.


Anonymous said...

EVERYONE is trying to scheme the system every chance they get because most people understand that the system IS scheming you every second of the day.

JQ said...

I called this last week. This had to be transit workers, who I bet frequent the racino.

As usual with the worse transit system in the world, it took 16 years for the NTA (Neglectful transit authority) to enter the 21st century of surveillance as it's now dawned on them to install cameras at vulnerable parts of the tracks. I knew kids who used to jump the trains in the 80's who used to easily access the aqueduct station by jumping the fences, even climbing the grassy knolls on the belt pkwy and enter the tracks then walk to the next station. Well, at least nobody had to die for action to take place.

Anonymous said...

Ask any old graffiti vandal , who knows the ins and out of tunnel tagging.
They can become your ally in catching the thieves.

Anonymous said...

Look out for Claude Cooper.

Anonymous said...

"redundancy in the power system allows them to keep moving for possibly another day"

The cops wrong, they can go 2-3 miles on the small bank of DC backup battery's (just enough to get out of the tunnel or make it to a powered section of track. (this was a 911 thing) --the LIRR electrics in and out of Penn also)
BTW-God knows if the MTA is maintaining those backup systems.

LibertyBoyNYC said...

$4500, split among a group (lotsa copper to haul), I mean, why bother?

Anonymous said...

These thieves are going to ruin everything for graffiti artists, urban explorers, and bored teens. Thanks a lot.