As InsideEVs reported recently, there has been a sharp uptick in electric car charger vandalism and theft since 2023. While EV infrastructure vandalism was not unheard of in the past, it was a rare occurrence and typically motivated by extreme anti-EV ideology. More recently, however, attacks have been motivated by thieves looking to profit from the metal contained in electric vehicle charging cables.

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EV Charger Cable Theft On The Rise

Electrify America says that through May of 2024, the charging operator‘s 968 locations have been hit more than 129 times. This number exceeds the total number of units vandalized throughout all 12 months of 2023, which was already a significant increase from years prior. 

Of course, it’s not just EV drivers who have noticed the increased downtime due to theft. State and local governments have begun taking action to increase security and make charging stations more difficult to vandalize.

Anthony Lambkin, vice president of operations at Electrify America, says that in previous years, Electrify America might see one cable cut every few months. This sudden increase has significantly impacted operations and the lives of electric car owners. “To have an entire station that’s offline is pretty impactful to our customers,” Lambkin recently told the Associated Press.

In May of this year, copper sales hit a record high of $5.20 a pound, up about 25% from a year prior. By most accounts, electric car charging cords don’t contain a particularly large amount of copper. Officials estimate that scrappers make at most $20 a cable at a recycling center. But that doesn’t seem to have deterred criminals, as this rampant theft has continued unabated.

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Thankfully, recycling centers and EV charging operators have started rolling out their own solutions. The Recycled Materials Association has begun to raise awareness and combat theft by issuing scrap theft alerts in conjunction with local law enforcement when a theft is reported. Electrify America is installing additional security cameras at charging locations to catch more thieves in the act.

These organizations and others will work more closely with local police to locate stolen goods and identify the criminals responsible. Here’s to hoping the law cracks down hard on these crooks and puts them behind bars as quickly as possible. 

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