Drawn to the Lights

September 28, 2018

As if high school athletic administrators don't have enough to think about already, thieves in Northwestern Indiana are stealing copper wiring from light poles, including those at schools' athletic fields.

According to CBS Chicago, the thieves often pose as utility workers and pretend to do repairs on the poles. Thomas McDermott Jr., Mayor of Hammond, said there have been many thefts over the past few weeks.

“I’m frustrated, but I can tell you that we know these people are professionals," McDermott said. "They’re electricians. They know what they’re doing.”

Gavit High School had to reschedule a Friday night football game against East Chicago Central High School as a result of thieves stealing copper wiring from their stadium lights. Thieves also stole wiring from East Chicago Central High School's football and soccer fields, resulting in $20,000 worth of repairs, and rendering the latter's lights unusable for weeks. Clark High School also had copper wiring stolen from its lights, and Homecoming will resume as planned once repairs are made.

McDermott has offered $25,000 for any information leading to an arrest.

“The people that are reaching into these poles know what they’re doing, and I’m telling you if you see people after hours working on these poles, just call the cops," McDermott said.  "It doesn’t matter which city it’s in; it could be in Chicago, it could be in Hammond, it could be in East Chicago, it could be in Gary, whatever. If you see people messing around with light poles, just call the cops.”

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