Copper Theft a growing problem in Manitoba
A recent routine traffic stop turned out more than expected for Headingley RCMP last week. Mounties responded to a van driving erratically on the Trans-Canada Highway in the RM of Headingley, at the Perimetre Highway near Winnipeg last Wednesday.
Officers stopped the van and discovered the licence plates did not match the description of the vehicle, and noted the van was stolen. The driver was also prohibited from driving.
A search of the vehicle found that the van was full of stolen copper wire. The driver of the van and the passenger, both of Swan River, were charged with possession of property obtained by crime.
Copper theft is a growing problem in Manitoba. In 2015 (January to June), there were six reported instances of stolen wire; 2016 saw 17 instances; and 2017 to the end of July has seen 35 instances. The stolen copper is often sold to scrap metal buyers.
These thefts can have wide-reaching consequences, as the public ends up incurring the costs, whether by delaying infrastructure, increasing costs of public projects or insurance premiums that increase.
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