Maryland Reaches Out to Recyclers to Fight Roadside Copper Wire Theft

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has officially requested the assistance of ISRI members in deterring the theft of copper wire from along state highways.

Recent thefts totaling approximately 35,000 linear feet of #4 uninsulated and #6 insulated wire has burdened taxpayers with $500,00 to $700,000 in replacement costs. The thefts have mainly occurred in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, and Carroll Counties. The Secretary of MDOT is asking recyclers to be extra vigilant when receiving similar materials.

  • Why it’s important:MDOT is concerned not only with the financial burden such thefts place on taxpayers, but also with the safety of MDOT workers when replacing stolen wire. Nationwide, there have been too many instances of workers being injured or killed on roadsides by distracted drivers. MDOT has recognized ISRI members as partners and is asking for assistance in fighting this crime.
  • Be Aware:Copper wire theft from along highways is certainly not limited to Maryland. Along with highway workers, drivers and pedestrians across the country have been victims of accidents caused by poor or no lighting along highways caused by copper thieves. Legislation can only go so far in curbing theft. Maybe recognizing recyclers as partners in the fight against theft is a step in the right direction.


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