At a 2:30 press conference today at Tukwila Int’l Blvd Station, Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray and Chief of Police Ron Griffin announced the discovery that approximately 4.2 miles and 70,000 pounds of copper wire has been stolen from within LINK’s hollow elevated guideway. With the exception of the stations themselves, all of the wire between Rainier Beach and SeaTac Airport has been stolen. The copper wire sections – roughly an inch in diameter – function to isolate stray current that might otherwise be absorbed by the structure, slowly weakening it over a period of decades. At current copper prices, the theft is valued well over $200,000.
Gray and Griffin were understandably unwilling to discuss the details of ingress points that allowed the thieves to access the guideway, but they did say that upon successful access there would have been no way to know that anyone was within the structure. Gray stressed that there are no operational safety concerns related to the theft, and that the wire was strictly for the purposes of reducing stress on the concrete and rebar, thus extending the useful life of the structure. Sound Transit expects to replace the copper within 2-3 months.
Sound Transit is seeking the public’s help with any information that might lead to the discovery and arrest of the thieves. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the King County Sheriff’s office (206) 296-3311.