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Bizarre crime spree hits Baltimore, baffles police. Light pole theft.

If Baltimore police put out an all-points bulletin on the latest urban vandals, it might read something like this: Calling all cars, calling all cars, polenapper on the loose. Beware, perpetrator may be armed (with a buzz saw) and dangerous – the stolen light poles are 250 pounds of hot-wired aluminum.

Baltimore Sun

About 130 aluminum light poles have disappeared in the last several weeks, puzzling authorities and prompting residents to wonder how the 250-pound objects are being stolen.

“I’ve been here 23 years, and I’ve seen just about everything,” Mike Decker, owner of Decker’s Salvage Co. “People will steal anything here.”

The culprits appear to have gone so far as dressing up as utility crews, police say, and placing orange traffic cones around the poles about to be felled, to avoid arousing suspicion among motorists.

WBAL Baltimore

  1. Floyd says:

    Has the price per pound of aluminum gone up recently? I think I remember a similar rash of thefts of aluminum guardrails a few years ago.

  2. Martin says:

    Guardrails are not made of aluminum, nor have they ever been made of aluminum. The material is too soft.

  3. Bryan says:

    Aluminum tube conspiracy theory anyone???? Possible use for enriching uranium??? Mob building nuke? lol…..

  4. Floyd says:

    Thank you for a bit of vindication, Ryan.

    I have no idea why NJ used aluminum for guardrails, as steel is cheaper and far stonger. Bet the’re not using aluminum guardrails in Joisey anymore, though.

  5. BOB G says:

    aluminum prices are way up. We have had poles and picnic tables stole. also utility lids.

  6. GregAllen says:

    In many parts of the poorer world, people routinely steal guard rails no matter what they are made of.

    The worst is manhole covers! Once I hit an open one with my car at full speed.

    In our country, people were stealing the bolts from high tenstion power line towers and one came crashing down, blacking out millions of people.

    I suppose these kinds of thefts could be used as a guage of the economy.

  7. GregAllen says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention something related to power poles… the wiring INSIDE them.

    If there is hatch on the side, they will take that off and strip out the wire from inside the pole. Goodness knows what they do with it. Maybe they use it in their home or, more likely, they get a couple of pennies for it.

    As US economic policy slowly squeezes out the middle class, the have to realize what is our future.

    I’ve lived in countries with a few hundred BILLIONAIRES and the rest are lower class. It sucks. It might be a Neo-Con dreamland, but it sucks big time.

  8. Jim Dermitt says:

    They seem fairly easy to secure. It might be a good idea to put RFID tags on or in these things. They are not supposed to move or be moved. You could just post that they had RFID tags with stickers and people would avoid stealing them. This sort of thing is being done with tires and expensive aircraft parts. The tags are cheap, so you could most likely tag a large number of units for a small investment.

  9. Eideard says:

    Jim — that presumes the crooks can read.

  10. Jim Dermitt says:

    Then again you could always do nothing, because perhaps the crooks can’t read. Since “About 130 aluminum light poles have disappeared” you must conclude that they must be fairly well organized, even if they can’t read
    It’s amazing that a little detective work hasn’t identified them. A crime like this leaves behind all kinds of clues at 130 crime scenes. I’m sure the FBI could solve this mystery in about a day. Maybe an hour, in the dark. It’s a simple process of elimination. The poles didn’t simply disappear or vanish. Let’s see, that’s 130 units at 250 pounds each in a small area over a period of several weeks. The suspect list must be fairly short. Authorities are somehow puzzled. I wonder if the authorities can read.

  11. Jim Dermitt says:

    Given the nature of this sort of crime, what is common is that the perps might be stoned on drugs. If law enforcement can’t solve this, we are in real trouble with sober and fairly intelligent terrorists.

  12. Joe says:

    Oh NO! There on to me!

  13. gregallen says:

    How many places in Baltimore can you sell an aluminum light pole with no questions asked? That seems like the bigger mystery here.


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