Copper thieves knock GDOT cameras offline

Copper thieves knock GDOT cameras offline

Copper thieves are getting bolder, having struck another government installation in north Fulton County. This time, they disabled Georgia Department of Transportation pole-mounted traffic cameras on a busy expressway.

GDOT workers called police when the video feed from a pair of cameras on Ga. 400 at the Chattahoochee River in Sandy Springs went dark at the start of the Monday afternoon rush hour.

When officers arrived at the scene, “they realized copper and fiber had been stolen from a junction box out there,” Capt. Keith Zgonc of the Sandy Springs Police Department told Channel 2 Action News. About 1,000 feet of cable and copper wiring was gone.

GDOT spokesman Mark McKinnon said, “We’re having a real problem with people going out and taking that copper.”

“Having those cameras operable is important,” McKinnon said. “That’s what helps your average motorist get to work every day, that we’re able to see what’s going on out there.”

The thefts also cause projects to be delayed, waste taxpayer money and are dangerous to the thieves, McKinnon said.

“Someone could get themselves killed doing something like that,” he said.

The latest theft follows the recent arrest of a man who, with an accomplice, allegedly stole miles of copper wiring from about 50 light poles in Sandy Springs.

Antonio O. Beasley, 48, of Atlanta was arrested and charged with felony theft by taking and other offenses in a series of heists that cost Sandy Springs an estimated $30,000. Police are seeking Beasley’s companion.

In the GDOT camera copper theft, authorities are asking anyone who saw something suspicious around 4 p.m. Monday at Ga. 400 and the Chattahoochee to contact Sandy Springs or Roswell police.

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