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Copper Thieves Are Cutting Electric Car Charging Cables and Stealing Them

Wire thieves appear to have identified a new target: electric vehicle chargers. 

The Reno, Nevada area appears to be getting hit particularly hard, according to a report by the local ABC affiliate KOLO. Three local charging stations were robbed recently, including one at a hotel and another at a mall. 

EV charging cables are thick and heavily insulated for safety reasons, but they can be cut with the proper tools. Thieves then either take the entire cable with them or strip them of the copper on site. 

“They took the copper out of it,” Josee, an employee at the Reno Aiden hotel who did not feel comfortable giving her last name, told Motherboard. “They actually cut it while it was charging somebody’s car.”

Copper prices surged during the pandemic which incentivized wire theft, although the problem is hardly new or unique to pandemic times. A 2013 CNBC article said copper theft at the time was “like an epidemic.” 

The Reno Police Department did not respond to Motherboard’s inquiry for more information on the charging cable theft issue.

This is not the first time thieves have made off with charging tables. In February, every cable was cut and stolen from a brand new Tesla Supercharger station in Oakhurst, California, on the edge of Yosemite National Park. 

Josee said they’re hoping to get the cables fixed within a few weeks because it is an important amenity for the hotel, although it may take longer.

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