14 caught stealing power cables

Fourteen suspects have been detained, some of whom were involved in a similar case in November 2016 when over 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) worth of power cables were stolen.

Fourteen suspects have been detained for allegedly stealing underground power cables by disguising themselves as power company employees, police said on Wednesday.

Some of the suspects were involved in a similar case in November 2016, when 45 suspects allegedly stole over 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) worth of cables in four Shanghai districts, police told Shanghai Daily.

Police in Yangpu District started their investigation in August after the suspects in one theft cut off cables that transmit power to a residential complex near Yanji Road W., causing the blackout of many households.

Power supply company workers found that about 100 meters of spare cables were stolen from its location under Yuanquan Road that evening.

From street surveillance cameras, police spotted the suspects who dressed up in power company workers’ uniforms, jumped out of yellow trucks painted with “State Grid” signage, before setting up iron fences marked “power maintenance” around a power well and starting their heist. The State Grid Corporation of China is China's electric utility monopoly.

The stolen cables were then sold to a recycling station on Jungong Road, police said.

The suspects were netted on the early morning of August 31 when they were in action again near Handan Road. About 130 meters of stolen cable was found at the recycle station, police said.

Yangpu police

Some of the suspects caught on the early morning of August 31

The suspects have allegedly claimed that they purchased a second-hand engineering truck, water pumps and cutting machines for the purpose.

It’s estimated that the stolen power cables were worth over 300,000 yuan, according to police.

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