A section of Highway 19 was plunged into darkness for several days after thieves stole the copper wire from within the lining street lights.
Nanaimo RCMP says the criminals targeted 20 lamp standards and 12 junction boxes near the intersection of Ware Road and made off with 2,500 metres of electrical cable.
Workers at Raylec Power, an electrical contracting company, alerted police of the theft when they arrived on the scene the morning of April 11.
It took them two days to replace the wire, this time using aluminum conductors — which comparatively have a much smaller resale value than copper.
The damage is estimated to have cost taxpayers $20,000 in damages.
Police say this heist was no feeble feat.
“Given the sheer volume of copper wire that was removed, the process would have taken a considerable amount of time and energy, and would have required at least a large full-size truck and a minimum of two people,” said R. Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
The street lights were restored to their full capability on April 13 with additional security features put in place to prevent further thefts from occurring.
“This theft was not only significant in the amount taken but it also put the motoring public at risk as they travelled along a very busy highway,” said O’Brien.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.