FARMINGTON -- A string of copper wire thefts along Legacy Parkway has the Utah Department of Transportation asking for the public's help.
Because of an increase in copper wire theft from highway lighting, freeway cameras and message signs, UDOT is asking for the public to report any suspicious nighttime activity around those facilities.
Since October 2009, UDOT has dealt with more than 20 incidents of copper wire theft, said UDOT spokeswoman Tonia Mashburn.
She said it has cost more than $213,000 to replace and repair the areas that have been hit.
Many of the thefts have occurred along the Legacy corridor, but other roadways, including Interstates 215 and 80 also have been targeted by thieves.
Most of the thefts have occurred on the parkway's lighting units, Mashburn said.
"There's kind of an underground box where this wire is, and (thieves) are coming and cutting into it during the day and then coming back at night to get it," she said.
"They steal it, and then they take it to the salvage yard and get paid for it."
The state has taken preventive measures to stop the thefts, but it continues to be a problem, Mashburn said.
"We've obviously been working with local law authorities, and we've been filling the boxes with gravel and cement and using stronger bolts, but there is only so much we can do."
The state also is concerned about the fact the wire thieves are at serious risk of injury, Mashburn said.
"It's definitely not safe. These wires that they are taking are 480 volts, so it's about four times more powerful than your home socket. Someone could be seriously injured."
Anyone seeing suspicious activity should call 911 to report it immediately, Mashburn said.
"We just want it to stop," she said. "It has already cost taxpayers over $200,000, and that's too much."