Street light wire thefts increase in St. Paul
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Street light wire thefts increase in St. Paul

Mar 05, 2024

By Jonah Kaplan

August 25, 2023 / 6:19 PM / CBS Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Complaints are up again in St. Paul as wire thefts mean dark nights on city streets.

There are nearly 38,000 fixtures that light up in St. Paul at night, and it only takes a few missing bulbs to illuminate a major problem.

Winston Kimani said he worries for his whole family ever since he said thieves ripped out the copper wires on Albermarle Street in the city's north end. He also said he's called the city repeatedly, and they've told him he's not alone.

"I'm frustrated because they told me they don't have an answer, and I want the lights to be fixed," he said. "I pay taxes and for months now we don't have lights."

City council members asked for answers too; a report outlines more than a dozen action items at a cost of more than $250,000. Solutions include keeping lights on all day, banding the welding access doors, and imprinting city property identification on the wire.

Officials say that though the investments might be slowing the rate of theft, they're still playing catch-up.

In the meantime, St. Paul residents are asked to call police if they see a "working" sign on the pole but no city vehicle nearby.

Police are asking residents to send doorbell video to help collect evidence of wire theft.

Jonah Kaplan is WCCO and CBS News Minnesota's investigative reporter and has built a strong reputation for his balanced and in-depth coverage of high-impact issues including the economy, immigration, education, public safety, and the military, among others.

First published on August 25, 2023 / 6:19 PM

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ST. PAUL, Minn. --