The above link is to a WSDOT poster on wire theft covering Dec 2006 - March 2008. Includes a 10/2/07 report on SR 8 @ Mox Chehalis Rd: 5,000' of #4 USE copper wire stolen disabling the illumination system, estimated repair for L & M $8,000.
More wire theft info:
The wire used to light our state roadways is made of copper. The demand for copper has grown in countries such as China, India, and Brazil. The price that thieves get from scrap metal dealers for copper has grown from 80 cents to more than $3 a pound.source
The amount of money thieves receive for stolen wire pales in comparison to the cost in replacement material and labor.
Besides the fact that the additional lighting is there to provide a larger sight distance, which improves safety, the costs to replace this wire impacts everyone. As taxpayers, this theft hits everyone where it counts most … in the pocket book. WSDOT is self-insured. No insurance claims are made if thieves steal the wire or equipment. Instead, the money is taken out of an existing budget – the same budget that pays for removing snow and ice and clearing the roadway when collisions occur.
Theft of other types of metal is also an ongoing problem:
Staten says railroad officials estimate the sections of rail, spikes and plates that were removed represent an ongoing problem of scrap collectors going from picking up loose pieces of metal to actually removing section of line. So widespread is the problem, officials are now asking officers to cite people for walking on tracks or picking up loose spikes or other scraps.source