A string of streetlights along the western lane of St. Croix’s Melvin Evans Highway between Williams Delight and Carlton were vandalized and more than 600 feet of copper wire was stolen, according to the V.I. Water and Power Authority.
According to the report, WAPA was notified of the theft Tuesday morning.
“This is extremely costly to the authority and presents a hazard to motorists who travel the highway nightly,” said Gregory Rhymer, WAPA’s acting chief executive officer.
Rhymer added that the cost of repairs must ultimately be passed on to WAPA customers.
The damage to the riser pole conduit, cables and locks by those persons seeking money for metal not only makes navigating the area hazardous for motorists and potential pedestrians, but it also forces WAPA to search for internal funds to replace the damaged installations.
“This is an ongoing problem we face,” Rhymer said, “and until we are able to source and rewire these conduits, that area will remain without adequate lighting.”
The V.I. Police Department has launched an investigation into the incident. WAPA said anyone found guilty of the theft of any part of the authority’s infrastructure will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is also extremely dangerous, the authority added.
Anyone with information about the theft of copper wire from WAPA facilities can report what he or she knows to the VIPD by calling 911, to WAPA’s Internal Audit Revenue Assurance Division by calling 340-715-6563 or sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contacting the anonymous tip service, Crimestoppers V.I., at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.crimstoppersusvi.org.