St. Paul’s Iconic Lantern-Style Light Posts Targeted by Copper Thieves

ST PAUL, Minn. ( Thieves in St. Paul are relentlessly targeting the city’s cherished lantern-style light posts, stripping them of valuable copper wiring. The extent of the issue, estimated by the public works director to involve several thousand incidents, has plunged multiple areas into darkness.

To counter this wave of thefts, the city council is investing approximately $800,000 in both replacing the pilfered posts and implementing preventive measures. City Council President Amy Brendmoen, expressing her frustration, highlights the emotional impact of witnessing the darkened cityscape, particularly around Como Park.

Since 2021, efforts to thwart thieves have included wrapping posts with metal bands, welding bases shut, and employing technology that notifies the police when circuits are tampered with, leading to the apprehension of some suspects. Brendmoen emphasizes the organized nature of criminal activity.

While thieves may profit around $30 from the stolen copper, the city bears a hefty cost of $2,500 to fully restore each light post. Despite attempts at fixes, Brendmoen remains skeptical, stating, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” She advocates addressing the demand beyond local scrap yards to curb the crime.

Beyond the financial impact, the thefts compromise safety, posing dangers for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists, especially in high-traffic areas like Lexington Parkway. The city faces a dilemma as using taxpayer funds for repairs hampers the transition to LED lights and the maintenance of existing infrastructure.


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