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article imageOp-Ed: When theft can be capital

By Alexander Baron     Oct 11, 2011 in Crime
Hard times and rising prices for scrap metal are leading people to take insane risks stealing from the railway and electricity substations. Some are caught and prosecuted; others are not so lucky.
Back in August, we reported the death of a man less than three miles from where the current writer is now sitting. James Payne alias James Smith was in the process of stealing copper cable from the railway between Penge West and Sydenham when he was electrocuted.
Since then there have been a number of other such cases; the linked horrific photographs which are currently going the rounds in cyberspace are said to have been taken in Dallas. Be warned, they are not for the squeamish.
The most recent such tragic case appears to be that of a small time American criminal, career burglar Matthew Ward, who was electrocuted while apparently stealing copper from power lines. How stupid can people get?
While it is true that such acts are not violent crimes, they can be more dangerous than a common or garden mugging, and not just for the perpetrator. Vandalising any piece of public electrical equipment can have unforeseen results. In some places, people have been stealing not only copper and the proverbial lead off the church roof but drain covers, for heaven sake. The consequences of that for a car, or some unsuspecting person, perhaps an elderly or short-sighted individual or someone walking in the dark, can be catastrophic.
Things may be tough for all of us at the moment, but this sort of crass stupidity dovetailed with criminality is of no use to either man or beast.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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