Miami, Fla. -
Miami like many cities have been hit hard by thieves stealing copper wire from just about anything they can get their hands on, including copper used in home and commercial A/C units, and public utility infrastructure.
One such case in Miami has given rise to a special law enforcement advisory unit called the Copper Wire Task Force. It is made up of various county department heads, the state attorney's office, public utilities and local residents. The case, in which copper wire was removed from a public utility infrastructure lighting area caused large areas of a neighborhood and street to go dark, which contributed to an auto accident that killed the driver.
Copper is a valuable commodity, and the new regulation for Miami-Dade county also put new restrictions and responsibilities on recycling facilities, where most of the stolen copper is take to be cashed out for money by the thieves. With copper so valuable and the economy still sluggish, making millions struggle to get work, it's become a cottage industry of sorts.