PG&E Hit Hard By Antioch Copper Thefts

ANTIOCH (KCBS) – Copper wire continues to be snatched from the East Bay city of Antioch this year, and that’s translating into a big problem for Pacific Gas and Electric – considering how much the utility relies on the material.

Since the first of the year, 300 power poles have been knocked down in Antioch. The wiring contained on and within the poles was subsequently ripped off.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Stealing copper wire is nothing new, but Antioch police describe the recent spate of incidents unusual.

PG&E, meanwhile, maintains it takes $500 to repair a pole containing just dollars worth of copper.

Copper went for $1.25/lb in 2009, though the market price has since climbed to an estimated $4/lb.

Police have not identified any suspects.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Citizen39

    Meth heads.

    • Duude

      Sounds like a reasonable conclusion.

    • Ben


      • Marbran

        Not really their style. I’ll go with meth heads.


        I want to report a crime taking place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave –

    • Jawal

      The problem today is that we wink at crime. We need to bring back the penal code that existed in 1815. There were 120 capitol offences including theft, rape, forgery murder and counterfeiting. Bring it back and do it in public.

      • Steven

        Yes – you absolutely read my mind. When a “petty” but widespread crime threatens society, then it isn’t so petty any more. Public hangings for copper theft. Seriously.

    • Y B Gerbil

      Tweakers. I lived in Antioch in 1978-1979, and its was a meth-infested hillbilly hellhole. I can only imagine it’s grown worse.

      • me

        Methamphetamin in 1978 huh? Thanks for the info.

      • Fed up tax payer

        You mean the same Raygun who murdered 100 people when he fired PATCO causing the 1983 Aero Mexico Mid-air in Cerritos Ca??
        NO THANKS!

      • Armed citizen

        I was working there at a construction site recently. It is hardly a hillbilly hellhole, it has become a cross between a little Tiajuana and a black hood. The jobsite was ripped off on a nightly basis of anything that was secured or not. This is California’s future due to liberal control.

      • joe mamma

        crash happened in 86. PATCO fired in 81.
        Piper Cub was in the wrong place…blame Reagan

        nice strawman.

      • Shawn

        Fed up tax payer – are you just making stuff up? That crash was the same year (1986) as the riots in Huntington Beach. Since you’ve established that you are a liar or you’re stupid would you quit posting. Thanks!
        P.S. Congressman Weiner is looking for people to work for his PR campaign, looks like you are just the kind of person he’s looking for.

      • JC

        The whole East Bay has gone to pot literally and figuratively.

        I do not think Ant-hawk-it-all aka Antioch is worth saving. However, if people want a place to call home the local police and town would be better under federal control and lock down.

      • jayesouthworth

        We got the hell out of Antioch 20- years ago and haven’t looked back. Still have relatives living there–sadly they can’t move. Someday these thieves will pick up the wrong wire and get fried. Sweet justice.

    • Fed up tax payer

      You can thank the sick bleeding heart liberals and their Overpopulationists buddies in the Catholic Church!

      • Fed up tax payer

        Poedic justice would be for the entire Bay Area to go dark for weeks or months!

      • KKKIRK


      • henryii

        if only raygun would come back and give them all amnesty….that would make you happy.

      • SacDuck

        Liberals and Catlickers?

    • just2curious

      June 15 (Bloomberg) — Copper stockpiles in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metal, may have dropped 50 percent in the past two months, potentially spurring more imports and higher prices.

      Increased shipments into China, which represents about 40 percent of global demand, may mean a rebound in prices that fell 9.8 percent from a record in February. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. anticipates copper trading at an all-time high of $11,000 a ton in 12 months as mining companies fail to keep pace with demand.

    • Anon E. Mous

      Shoot first and forget the questions. This is going to be the only way!

    • Crystal

      HAHA! I just thought that as I read the headline. Totally funny that this is the first comment I read.

    • Steve Turi

      Booby trap the poles to shock any attempt at vandalism; put up surveillance cameras; show more police presence; San Francisco likes to ban everything, so ban people from committing these acts and enforce it.

  • mardec

    California has become another Third World country unto itself. lllegal immigrants the likely thieves, and have no vested interest in CA or the US. Only here to rape the country, and CA citizens allow it.

    • SacDuck

      I’ve lived and visited several of the countries considered third world and what you’re saying seems to be coming true as far as the family values and sub cultures

      • olegunny

        My God you must be below idiot on the intelligent scale. How can anyone believe such rubbish as you are spewing. .

      • Clark Nova

        Leave the third world out of this. Most third world countries I’ve been in had better family values and more honest people that the US does.

    • Doug

      It’s not that the citizens allow it- its that we are powerless to do anything about it. Anyone can see what’s happening but nothing short of armed rebellion can stop it.

      • Big Bear

        How can you be powerless for an armed rebellion unless you are unarmed? It is coming to that, I’m afraid. Martial Law. Then the criminal class which has been allowed to fester in an Epic Fail social engineering experiment will be culled.

      • franklin

        Then arm yourself. Your politicians have no right whatsoever to deprive you of your Constitutional rights so arm yourselves and TAKE your state back!

      • SockRayBlue

        How can you “arm” anything in California? Maybe the bears.

      • Anon E. Mous

        Not as long as Obama/Holder are running this country into the ground at breakneck speed!


      And the INVA$ION continues…

  • Regulas

    The new Amerika of Hope & Change. Welcome to what liberalism does to a once great and proud country.

    • SacDuck

      It wasn’t the liberal that brought this to us. Remember, the conservatives have been exploiting other countries for years by either stealing their resources or helping to start wars. When ever there is an exodus, we absorb the riff. Remember how GWBush was going to accept the jews deporting several thousand palestinians into the USA?

      • Aggie95

        the civil war was begin by democrats in the south angry at the election of the FIRST Republican president.They firs succeded from the union then began a war that killed 625,000 American service men. They began the war to keep the right to own black men, women and children…
        WW I …a democrat president
        WW II ….a democrat president
        Korea …. A democrat president
        Vietnam…. Began with Truman and was blown to hell and gone under Kennedy and Johnston
        1,300,000 dead American service men and woman under democrats ….would you tell me how many war dead the Republicans have

      • Robert

        Liberals have controlled California for the last 20 years. They have huge majorities in the Assembly and State Senate. They have both Senate seats, the governorship and their union friends practically wright legislation on the back of a napkin and send it to the capitol to be implemented. You and your friends own the mess that is California. Now eat it.

      • armed citizen

        Just as the Conservative war in Lybia. The liberals and unions in the LA and SF Bay areas have controlled this state for years, while the state conservatives either leave the state or fight the uphill battle to save our once great state.

    • Clark Nova

      It was 8 years of Reagan plus 8 years of Bush that wrecked this country to the point where it can never recover, and they did it all for their hyper-rich friends.

      • Robert

        Except you can never explain that generalization in terms of policy. It’s all just platitudes and nonsense.

      • Seeu

        You are fugging hilarious. And ignorant, a moron and obviously an Obamabot. Crawl back in your hole, smoke some meds and go to sleep.

  • Archie

    Bet it was illegals. California does nothing about them and they care nothing for us. CLOSE THE BORDERS AND KICK THEM OUT.

  • Chad

    “Stealing copper wire is nothing new”

    Yes, actually, it is. News like this was unheard of in California in the 35 years I lived there. Why? Because groups like the SEIU hadn’t yet destroyed the state and there was hope for a better tomorrow.

    Now, it’s just collect your welfare until the state goes bankrupt. These kind of crimes are the symptom of a far greater disease. And that disease has metastasized and spread from the halls of the State Assembly to the doors of the citizens of the once-great state of California.

    That Mr. Melrose is incapable of putting this in context of the Zimbabwe-ization of California is deeply troubling.

    • garylee123

      Worked at PGE for 40 years. Saw copper stolen for 40 years

      • Anon E. Mous

        Yea, garylee123, but that was done by the employees.!

    • SacDuck

      Funny, in 1976 I had the unfortunate experience of copper thief. Three of my pump relay system had been stolen, all were found on the highway with all their copper parts removed. During that wave, I also lost several hundred feed of copper piping from a shed.
      Our area was also hit by battery thief’s, particularly the batteries used at train crossing gates.

      • John

        Good reminder to look both ways before ever crossing tracks!

    • Doug

      It’s interesting that you cite Zimbabwe as an example of socialist failure. When it was Rhodesia it was the bread basket of southern Africa. Under the communists it has become the basket case of Africa- or one of many. It is never mentioned by the liberals because they don’t care. Their work is done there and they have bigger fish to fry.

  • Ramon Leigh

    If I was the utility CEO, I would refuse to repair the poles and force Antioch to
    provide security. Antioch is conspiring with the thieves, seems to me.
    California is without doubt the brainless capital of the world. No wonder Hollywood is located there. Let’s all encourage California to secede from the union.

    • Duude

      “California is without doubt the brainless capital of the world. No wonder Hollywood is located there. ”

      Actually, many of them have homes here because the climate is awesome. But most also have homes in states like Florida where they file their taxes. As for Hollywood production companies—–they don’t pay taxes to the state and often times not even federal taxes.

  • Ba-rack

    This is what we’ve become.

  • Eyeball

    Ayn Rand who wrote ‘Atlas Shrugged” foresaw all of this back in the 50’s. This is just once incident of many many to come before the U.S. economy comes to a screeching halt, unless we can get this country turned around. Obama’s spending and socialism is not the answer.

    • Vendicar Decarian

      Absolutely. In fact pages 14 to 21 of her book is all about the future of copper theft in America.

      “Ayn Rand who wrote ‘Atlas Shrugged” foresaw all of this back in the 50′s.” – Eyeball

    • Clark Nova

      Ayn Rand was on Medicare and Social Security as she smoked herself to death. Some anti-socialist she turned out to be.

      • H8 Morons

        Aren’t all retirees in the US on SS and Medicare?

      • InTheBubble

        Clark Nova, you and all the others of your persuasion are precisely the people who have destroyed California (no, it won’t be coming back). The Soviet Union and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe just weren’t good enough examples for you, I guess. More likely you are just too damned stupid to even understand the concepts. When the stuff hits the fan (soon), you and yours will stand among the mud people as targets for the blazing anger of the good citizenry. Good luck surviving that.

  • danpa


    YOU FOOLS…..

    • DRalter

      So, your saying California is the only State with copper theft? Your comment makes no sense

      • Clark Nova

        Copper theft has tripled in NM since the Republican administration came in.

      • Adam Smith

        Copper theft reflects commodity inflation – inflation hidden by the administration by averaging in declining housing prices as a huge factor. Commodity inflation is global – look at food and fuel prices around the world. Ironically this is a driver of the Arab Spring. All states are affected by it but California’s atmosphere of permissiveness and incompetent government is an enabler of criminality. The rot starts at the top – nationally with Obama/Bernanke/Pelosi/Reid who started the inflation portion of our current stagflation, the legislature in California has made it one of the most business hostile states and gifted the state with terrible unemployment and declining prospects. I bailed out some years ago when I saw it going downhill and set up my business in a business friendly site – now employing hundreds of people.

  • Cranky Pat

    I’m sure the CA legislature is working on this. They will require all new power lines to be made from plastic!

    • Davie Jones

      Don’t be silly. Environmentalists will require they be made of biodegradable, recycled paper.

  • Stan

    Copper wires???? By and large overhead power lines are aluminum.

    • JJ

      What you’re seeing is aluminum clad with a copper core. Copper is still the best conductor.

      • ML

        Nope, just Aluminum. The lower density of aluminum over copper yields lower weight which allows longer spans between poles. The higher resistance of aluminum is compensated for by higher voltages used before distribution transformers. I work in this field.

      • Jerry

        No. Some older wire is steel clad on the outside with aluminum.. There is some wire that is steel with a bit (not much) of copper on the outside.
        Most wire these days is aluminum.
        Some very old installations might be copper.

        There is NO point of putting copper in as a core to an aluminum outside or any other outside, due to the characteristics of AC power.

  • Mary Anne

    Illegals? Maybe. Who is buying this copper? Do they ask where it came from? If there wasn’t a market for it, it wouldn’t get stolen. Yes, let California secede from the Union — it’s only the 8th largest economy in the world, and ranks number 49 in monies sent to Washington v. monies received from Washington. i’d love to see the rest of the country try to get California to secede and then wonder where 17% of their tax revenue went. Then maybe California, as a sovereign nation, can protect its own borders instead of having the Feds put the nix on everything I love it when people start blaming California for what the Feds have done to them.
    Caliifornia tries to do to protect itself. Remember prop 189? Fed judge kicked that to the curb and basically told California it had to open its arms and provide for any illegal that wanted to come here. Citizen only rent laws — stricken down by the Feds. etc,. etc.

    • Oh bama

      Sure, if California secedes. we’ll still have 56 states left. :-)

      • Anon E. Mous

        Good one, Oh bama!

    • Vendicar Decarian

      “Who is buying this copper? Do they ask where it came from?” – MaryAnne

      Look Commie. Stop trying to blame business for the government sponsored theft of copper.

      If it weren’t for government making copper theft illegal then there wouldn’t be a market for illegal copper now would there?


    • Fed up tax payer

      Its shipped on NAFTA trucks to Mexico!

    • tracer51250

      Are you for real??? So what you’re saying is it’s not the thiefs fault, it’s the person who’s trying to make a living buy buying it???? What the hell is wrong with you???? That’s the most ignorant statement I’ve seen in a long time.

      • H8 Morons

        I’m all in favor of a $1000 per day fine for employers who hire illegals. Do that, and the illegals will slowly return home to Mexico.

      • Clark Nova

        It’s true. Just like the people who hire illegal immigrants are more to blame than the immigrants themselves.

  • aubreyfarmer

    Thieves will continue to steal copper until they are caught. How hard could it be to contact every salvage yard and ask them if they have bought and inordinate amount of copper wire lately? If that doesn’t work because the salvage people are crooks, then put up a camera at every salvage yard within a 100 miles and just wait. Sooner or later the thieves will show up.

    • Avenger

      Good point. There probably aren’t that many salvage yards anyway. You could put someone at each yard for a week or two and nab the crooks. The best deterrant may be heavilly criminalizing and fining the salvage yards. They KNOW where the huge amounts of copper coming in, still covered with insulation, are coming from.

    • jacksbark

      Salvage yards are not where this stuff goes. It goes straight into containers and is exported to China, where the Chinese are like a swarming mass of locusts – devouring everything they can touch.

    • Clark Nova

      Let’s put a camera in every bedroom, too. No telling what laws are being broken there. You’re a miserable little Fascist.

      • H8 Morons

        Only if I get paid.

  • david

    If only we would just give them more welfare and food stamps this wouldn’t happen…

    Somewhere right now a liberal democrat is saying just that.

  • sean patriot

    These people need to be caught, tried for domestic terrorism, and hanged by the neck until DEAD.

    • SacDuck

      (add Publicly) hanged by the neck until DEAD

      • H8 Morons

        Or perhaps hanged Pubic-ly?

  • Bill

    I assume the photo shown with this story is wrong.

    • Clark Nova

      Wrong and shot by someone without any knowledge of how to clean all of that schmutz off their camera’s sensor chip.

  • bigbiz2

    People are stealing coper plaques,cemetary urns, copper wire.Ok … seems like such a simple solution.Pass a law the bans to purchase of these items…
    Seriously… other than demolition of a building..what legitimate source of these items would there be? Oh I forgot ..California is run by Mexicans..never mind

    • Mike

      There’s already a law saying stealing is illegal, there’s already a law saying receiving stolen property is illegal.

      But wait! If we pass a law making it illegal, it won’t happen!

      • just2curious

        make a law that makes breaking the law illegal? or are you saying that you want to deputize the salvage clerks? give every person at the counter of every pawn shop a badge? hello…

  • smartest commentor

    Looks like little green men got tired of murdering our cows. What’s next?

    • Georgia Prune

      Your comment should have had a spew alert! Almost ruined my keyboard.

    • Skully

      They’re grey, not green. Catch up will-ya. ;-)

  • Volpa

    P G &E will just ask for another rate increase to cover their loss! That’s how they do it!

  • DigitalBob

    Just give them the drugs they are buying with the money from stolen copper and hope they die from it..

    • heatherfeather

      Unfortunately, they will commit numerous other crimes before they finally die from their dope, causing untold harm and chaos. If you want to give them drugs, invite them into your home and live with the consequences, please.

  • Falcon 78 in Northern VA

    Story says they “knocked down 300 poles.” And they haven’t caught the crooks? You would think the police might have had a lead or two after the first 100 poles or so. How can you knock down 300 power poles without someone noticing after about the first, say, 50?

    • R.W.

      or, given the fact that the flow of electricity would be interrupted, the first one…

  • sailordude

    Sounds like Mad Max, The Road warrior, end of civilization days doesn’t it? Actually they do this all over the world but a shame that 300 poles get knocked down in half a year and no one has gotten caught! Maybe the FBI should investigate a local police conspiracy?

    • Vendicar Decarian

      “Sounds like Mad Max, The Road warrior, end of civilization days doesn’t it?” – SailorDude

      No. It sounds like the End of America.

      A very good thing indeed.

  • JenS

    Oh heck those californians don’t care – the liberals all believe in entitlement – these thieves are just entitled to take what they want right.

  • Michael F Gibson

    California recycle places are already required to get proof of ID in order to recycle. Someone comes in with things that are clearly are looking like they were stolen and the centers aren’t reporting it? The operators of the centers should be charged with receiving stolen property right along with the democrat/liberals that are selling stolen property and sent to jail.

  • Sam

    The thieves are allowing freon to escape to the atmosphere and should be fined 2500 dollars for each incident and the courts don’t do this to those caught stealing copper from air conditioners. What’e with this.? This makes a misdemeanoor a felony. Mucho jail time.

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