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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Community Watchdogs Needed

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The city of Santee needs your help in stopping thieves from taking copper wiring from public lighting fixtures at our parks, schools and streets.

The copper is being stolen for its recycle value, but here’s the rub: a theft of just $100 worth of wiring can cost more than $1,000 to repair. Thousands of taxpayer dollars are being spent to repair the damages to public facilities.

In the past six months, copper wire thieves have struck repeatedly in Santee.

The latest theft occurred last week at Town Center Community Park, where wiring connected to some of the playing field lights was removed. The damage was difficult to repair and two adult football leagues were forced to find another field.

Last fall, sheriff’s detectives arrested a man posing as an electrical contractor for stealing copper wire from various public facilities in Santee. He later pleaded guilty to grand theft and was sentenced to a year in jail.

Please help us deter these thieves by keeping your eyes and ears open for anything suspicious. That loud repetitive “chink” in the middle of the night could be a crook using a hammer to chisel off a lock at a wiring box at the base of a street light.

People shouldn’t be present in city parks when they are closed. Big Rock, Mast, Santee Mini, Shadow Hill, Sky Ranch and Woodglen Vista parks are open every day from dawn to dusk. There are longer hours at West Hills and Town Center Community parks, which are open from dawn to Sportsplex USA is open until .

If you see a crime in progress, call 911. If you have information about any copper wire thefts contact the San Diego Sheriff’s Department in Santee at (619) 956-4000.

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