Copper Theft Leaves North Las Vegas Residents in the Dark - 8 News NOW

Copper Theft Leaves North Las Vegas Residents in the Dark

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NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Cherry McDowell loves to walk her dog Barry several times a day in her North Las Vegas neighborhood. Once the day turns to night, however, those walks come to a screeching halt.

"Depending on the moon, it can be pitch black," she said.

The street lights behind her home are out, and it's not just affecting her. Debrah Carter walks home every night from her job at the U.S.A. Gas Station at Craig Road and Decatur Boulevard.

She dodges speeding cars on every leg of her journey - something that becomes more difficult in the pitch black of night.

"I almost got ran down," she said.

The real fear sets in, however, when she turns on to Goldcrest Drive near Valley Drive and Craig Road. On Goldcrest, every single street light is out.

Debrah can barely see her hand in front of her face. With each step, she fears she could become the victim of a crime. Yet, every night she takes the risk - walking home from the job she needs to survive.

Both women, who are North Las Vegas taxpayers, want to know why the lights aren't being fixed.

In a written response, City of North Las Vegas Public Information Officer Juliet Casey said,

"Street lights along Goldcrest Drive from Valley Drive to Allen Lane are not functioning due to stolen electrical wire used to provide power. This has occurred multiple times at or near the same location in past few months. Replacing stolen wire for this long stretch of road is expected to be costly. The City of North Las Vegas is looking into funding options as well as the most cost effective way to reconstruct its damaged lighting infrastructure. Citizen are encouraged to report street light outages by calling (702) 633-DARK."

That answer didn't sit well with Debrah or Cherry.

"I pay taxes, and my expectation is if I pay for something, that's a service I should get," Cherry said.

"It should be taken care of. They can turn around and figure out how to get the money," Debrah added.

The city eventually found the money. Days after 8 on Your Side's initial request was made, the lights were fixed. City officials somehow found the money in their $176,000 budget allocated for street light maintenance and repairs.

Debrah, Cherry and Barry are now out of the darkness, but this story isn't over.

The I-Team's Nathan Baca is taking a closer look at the problem of copper wire theft facing the city and its lights - from city blocks going dark without police intervention to recycling yards installing security measures to scare away thieves.

That story airs Thursday night at 5 p.m.

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