Why are copper thefts so common and where does the stolen material end up?

The Rodales burglaries are the tip of the iceberg, because they represent just one 3% of total copper theft in CataloniaAccording to Mossos d’Esquadra. A very small percentage, but it has a huge impact on thousands of people. To the point where copper cable thefts have ended Put the entire Rodalis network under surveillanceagain this week.

But what makes copper so valuable? What department does all this stolen material belong to?

Very attractive metal

Copper has Multiple applicationshe has one Unlimited livesbecause it can be recycled, that is, it can be recycled Leaves no trace. Moreover, it is One of the best paying metals.

The price of copper fluctuates depending on the market, but it has fluctuated in the past year Between 5 and 9 euros per kilo. This is what they pay legal railways. But it is very difficult for stolen copper to find an outlet in this business.

The majority of stolen copper, according to the Mossos Ironworkers Union, ends up abroad (3Cat)

he Catalonia Recovery Syndicatewhich brings together some 300 railway companies“Entrepreneurs have a lot to lose and very little to gain; no one wants to put their assets and business at risk,” he asserts.

In fact, these railroads have to supply the Mossos with one every week A list of all the people they have bought copper from. In addition, the police conduct periodic checks on ships to detect possible stolen copper. All of this acts as a deterrent, that is Thieves look for other ways on the black market. Most of the stolen copper, according to the syndicate and Mossos, Ends outside. Often towards Eastern Europe, by land, or to the world’s main consumer of this metal, ChinaBy boat

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From a third country, copper It separates from the plastic covering it. Tracking is lost here. Then, once crushed and processed, Enter the circle again, Now legally. There is an irony that she could end up where she came from.

Victoria Ferrer, director of the Recovery Guild, says so “It is very likely that it will end up back in Renfe’s high-tension cables. Because it is sold to companies that make these cables. “It’s like bumper plastic: it will be bumper plastic again.”

No fences and accessible

The point at which the cable theft that caused the incident occurred, on Election Day, is about… 400 meters from Montcada Bifurcacio stationBut it belongs to the Barcelona municipal area. It is close to Ciutat Meridiana.

It’s a relatively hidden place, though No fences or camerasWith easy access. The car can be left too close.

Identify the copper cable cut by thieves. it’s called “Feeder”And Electrical cable over 3000 volts Parallel to the chain on which it feeds. The effects of the fire are also clearly visible, as the signal systems burned out.

For some time, unions have been demanding that the Rodales lines be protected in the same way as high-speed lines, which have become Tanks Everywhere.

According to Francisco Cárdenas, driver and spokesman for UGT in Renfe, “We are aware that the entire Rodalies road should have fences, but the vast majority do not. If you walk on the road now, there are quite a few spots where you can do some mischief.” And when I say enough, I mean enough.”

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Unions have long demanded the protection of passenger lines as well as high-speed lines that have fences everywhere (3Cat)

Although the union considers what happened to be “sabotage to cause harm,” it points out that “there is Complete lack of investment in security and maintenance. Updates have been made elsewhere in Spain that were not done here,” confirms Cárdenas.

Theft or simple breakage of the copper cable has very important effects on the service. At best, this can cause trains to be very late, due to problems with the signaling systems. In the worst case, this could lead to a complete cessation of convoy movement.

Thefts are on the increase

There have been copper thefts for years, but we are now at the worst moment in the past five years, according to ADIF. last year It increased by 110% in CataloniaBut if we look at the Barcelona area, it has increased significantly, with an increase of about 200%. So far this year, there have already been about fifty thefts.

Adiv has 1,200 kilometers of rail network in Catalonia, four times more than Ferrocarrills de la Generalitat (FGC). But, according to police data, it is concentrated on almost all thefts. 96% affect ADIF and 4% FGM.

Copper thefts increased by 110% in Catalonia last year, according to Adev (3Cat).

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