Local

Roadside Solar Panels New Theft Target

OPB | Nov. 26, 2007 7:25 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:18 a.m. | Salem, OR

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By Chris Lehman

It seems that even crooks have jumped on the renewable energy bandwagon.

The Oregon State Police says about a half-dozen solar panels have been stolen in the past year from changeable message signs.

Those are the kind that warn drivers about things like icy roads or construction zones.  The solar panels allow the signs to be placed in remote locations without easy access to electricity.

Oregon State Police Lieutenant Greg Hastings says the crimes appear to be pre-meditated.

Greg Hastings: “Someone would need to probably pull up in a pick-up or a utility type of a truck. It’s not something that you would take off and then walk down the highway unnoticed by anyone as you carry it away.”

The panels are four feet wide and are worth about a thousand dollars.  Hastings says no one has been caught.

The latest theft was Sunday night on a road approaching Mount Hood.

In Clark County, Washington last spring, solar panels were stolen from electronic warning signs along Interstate 5.

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