Copper thieves hammer Seattle parks

SEATTLE – Seattle’s Jefferson Park in the Beacon Hill neighborhood shows off some of the best views of the city, but it’s also one of the places where copper thieves have most recently vandalized public property.

City park officials tell Q13 News the problem is spread across the city.

“This is like the only skate park that has lights that are on until 11 o’clock,” said one skater who shared his name as Nikki. “I don’t come here at night anymore because I know the lights are off, and that sucks.”

In the past six weeks, park officials say thieves have broken into boxes and ripped out copper wiring and the skate park has been hit twice.

But Seattle isn’t the only city popular for copper thieves. In the past few months, Q13 News has reported about crooks targeting facilities across Puget Sound in Edmonds, Tukwila, Kent and Federal Way. Each instance causes expensive damage and sometimes has ripple effects on community events.

A Seattle parks spokesperson told Q13 News that multiple parks across the city have also been hit recently, nearly reaching $100,000 in damages and repair costs.

“I don’t think that people always want to choose crime,” said parent Allice Brandt who frequently takes her kids to play at Jefferson Park.

While Brandt says she’s frustrated that taxpayers are forced to shoulder the costs of repairs, she also worries why thieves are stealing in the first place.

“I always kind of wonder about why they’re doing that,” she said, “And so that also may be a bigger issue.”

Parks officials say they have reported the thefts to police and are taking steps to stop the crimes.

But some who come to enjoy the nature and views wonder what the root causes could be that force copper thieves to steal from the public.

“The whole economy is messed up, so it’s like I don’t even blame people who commit crimes like that,” said Nikki. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”