Friday, November 25, 2005

I don't if the MMDA has ever apprehended anyone over the theft of those metal tubes that make up the flyover balustrades, but the culprits apparently have inspired others into more daring exploits, as seen in this New York Times article, which could just as easily be part of some tabloidish conspiracy involving aliens. Or the intro of a retro superhero comic book...

Light Poles Are Vanishing, and Baltimore's Police Are Baffled

By GARY GATELY

BALTIMORE, Nov. 24 - Given that they stand some 30 feet tall, their disappearance is attracting a good deal of attention here - even as their final destination remains a mystery.

Thieves are sawing down aluminum light poles. Some 130 have vanished from Baltimore's streets in the last several weeks, the authorities say, presumably sold for scrap metal. But so far the case of the pilfered poles has stumped the police, and left many local residents wondering just how someone manages to make off with what would seem to be a conspicuous street fixture.

The poles, which weigh about 250 pounds apiece, have been snatched during the day and in the middle of the night, from two-lane blacktop roads and from parkways with three lanes on either side of grass median strips, in poor areas and in some of the city's most affluent neighborhoods. Left behind are half-foot stubs of metal, with wires that carry 120 volts neatly tied and wrapped in black electric tape.

"It's a newfound phenomenon; I have to say we haven't seen this before," said David Brown, a spokesman for the city's transportation department . "Apparently, the culprits know what they're doing because we're talking about 30-foot poles here. It's not like you can stick one in a grocery cart and get rolling."

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