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‘They had power tools’: B.C. man warns of metal thieves targeting EV charging cables

Click to play video: 'Surveillance video shows thieves stealing EV charging cables from Surrey home'
Surveillance video shows thieves stealing EV charging cables from Surrey home
With electric vehicles becoming more common, charging stations are also being installed in a growing number of homes and businesses. But as one Surrey homeowner found out, that equipment has become a target for thieves going after the valuable metals inside. Cassidy Mosconi reports. – May 28, 2024

A B.C. electric vehicle owner is warning others after thieves cut and stole the charging cables for his car.

The brazen crime was captured on camera.

BCIT researcher Kelly Carmichael said the theft happened while his Nissan Leaf was parked in front of his Surrey home on Sunday night.

He discovered the cables were gone the following morning.

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Surrey launches catalytic converter and scrap metal theft crackdown

“I was like, ‘Oh crap. How is this happening?'” he told Global News.

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A review of his home security cameras revealed a pair of thieves apparently casing the neighbourhood for cables to pilfer.

“At 3 a.m. we saw a car driving down the road slowly, and once they drove past our place that they could see the chargers on the wall they stopped … they backed up, stood and looked at it for about 20 seconds … and then parked,” he said.

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“Within 30 seconds they’ve cut the cables and were gone. They were prepared. They had power tools to do this.”

Carmicheal estimated the loss of two cables, and the cost of labour to have new ones installed works out to about $1,500.

Cutting the cables renders them useless for charging, and Carmichael believes the thieves were after the four to five pounds of copper they contained.

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He believes targeting EV cables will become more common as the number of electric vehicles and charging stations grows.

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“I totally see it as something they will start to see as a lucrative option,” he said. “Ten years ago when I was the only one on the street that had an electric car, I didn’t have to worry.”

Carmichael said some of his neighbours have not resorted to moving their charging cables inside overnight.

The incident comes amid what statistics show is a falling crime rate in Surrey.

In the first quarter of 2024 property crime was down 13 per cent year over year, while theft from vehicles fell 41 per cent. Violent crimes were also down three per cent.

“It is encouraging when you can see a consistent decline in a specific offence category such as property crime,” Surrey RCMP Cpl. James Mason said.

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Police say prevention remains the key to preventing theft, and recommend installing motion sensor lighting and security cameras.

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“We have some programs here in Surrey and jointly with the City of Surrey called Iris where you can register your doorbell cameras or your security cameras with the city to be able to then have that information available to help assist with our reporting,” Mason said.

Meanwhile, Carmichael is warning other EV owners to be vigilant and take steps to protect their investments.

“Most people that have a charger now should be making sure the cable is inside their garage at night,” he said. “Especially when they have a large number of EVs in their neighbourhood because I think this is going to be more common.”

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