Copper thefts cost Philly transit agency big bucks

    Officials say copper thefts, an increasing problem across Pennsylvania, are forcing the Philadelphia-area transit system to shell out big bucks.

    Andrew Gillespie, chief engineer for power for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, says copper thieves are costing the authority $500,000 annually.

    He tells The Intelligencer that hard economic times and the high price of copper has prompted the increasing number of thefts.

     

    Officials say the thieves often risk electrocution and disrupt service for commuters.

    Gillespie says the authority is marking its copper and telling scrap dealers to be on the lookout for any SEPTA materials.

    And officials plan to spray wires with a chemical that will become visible under a fluorescent light.

    Officials compare the idea to placing dye packs in money bags during a bank robbery.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.