Georgia's Department of Transportation said thieves stole copper wiring from more than a half-dozen light poles along the new Mitchell Street bridge in Atlanta.
"It's a huge problem and growing," said GDOT spokesman Mark McKinnon.
The thieves hit even before the rebuilt bridge reopened last Friday.
"The Mitchell Street bridge is right in front of the federal courthouse and yet it still happens," McKinnon told CBS Atlanta News. "They're pretty brazen. They'll do it anytime."
McKinnon noted thieves also stole wiring from the traffic signal along the bridge, preventing GDOT from opening Russell Plaza Drive.
Sandy Springs police also reported thieves stole copper from several cameras along Georgia 400 Monday afternoon in broad daylight.
"They're difficult to catch," said Capt. Keith Zgonc of the Sandy Springs Police Department. "What they're doing, they do pretty quickly so they're not spending a lot of time out there. They typically don't spend a lot of time in one location."
GDOT said a lack of cameras along the highways and interstates can greatly affect commuters.
"If we can't clear an accident more quickly on Georgia 400 because we can't monitor it, you know that's going to slow people down in their commute," McKinnon said. "It affects everyone."
GDOT said it will be weeks before the agency can get new wiring for the Mitchell Street lights.
"We obviously need the public's help," Zgonc said. "We don't have eyes everywhere, but we certainly are encouraging the public to reach out to us anytime they see something that looks a little out of place."
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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