Amidst Oxford home break-ins during winter vacation, Miami University endured a theft on campus. Copper wires estimated to be worth $3,000 were stolen from the university.
Associate Director of University Communications Claire Wagner said some faculty members noticed the lights near the walkways of Tallawanda Road were off the night of Jan. 4. An investigation took place the next morning, which revealed missing copper cables.
“When the street lights are out, we treat those as a high priority,” Assistant Vice President of Operations for Physical Facilities Cody Powell said. “We learned that there was no electricity being fed to those lights because the wires were gone.”
Four copper cables, each 250 ft. in length, were stolen from the utility tunnels under Tallawanda Rd., Wagner said.
Powell said the theft had two major impacts on the university.
“Safety is very important, so having lights out on campus is not a good thing,” he said. “The second impact was that the university had to pay for labor and material to put the lights back into service.”
Seeing that safety was a major concern, Powell said the lights were quickly repaired and were back in service by Friday.
Although the replacement cost Miami $3,000, Powell said he estimated the scrap value of the copper stolen is less than that.
To prevent this from happening in the future, Miami has a safety program to make sure all access to the utility tunnels is closed and secured.
“There are people in our operations that have access to the tunnels, but the best we can do is make sure things are secured,” Powell said. “We don’t want students or any other unauthorized persons down there because there is a potential risk of injury.”
Powell went on to say, “A theft is very unfortunate. The university has to scramble to pay to get everything back to how it needs to be. But we have to keep the campus safe and hopefully prevent it from happening in the future.”
The Miami University Police Department is investigating.