Four people have been arrested in connection with a $120,000 copper theft from Seattle City Light. On Tuesday, April 23, two individuals contacted the utility claiming they were from the Cherokee Nation and were seeking a small amount of scrap copper for a nonprofit that assisted disabled children. A City Light employee or employees let them into the South Service Center and they left with about 40,000 pounds of insulated scrap copper wire on four wooden pallets.
City Light usually sells the copper to a scrap yard.
City Light immediately contacted the Seattle Police Department, which began its investigation. Working with the Portland Police Department, four people were arrested on Thursday – two adults and two juveniles. Police also found the two trucks used in the operation. One truck was found at a Portland metal recycling facility, along with the suspects, and the other in Milton, Washington. The stolen copper was reportedly recovered.
City Light officials say there are many questions surrounding this incident that remain unanswered. It is conducting a review of its security procedures and its internal control processes at its salvage yard at the South Service Center. The utility continues to collect information about the incident, including what kind of representation the individuals made while on City Light property.