Bay Area/ North SF Bay Area/ Retail & Industry
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Published on May 14, 2024
Bay Area Tesla Superchargers Vandalized in Vallejo, Reflecting Rising Trend of Metal TheftSource: Google Street View

Vandals have struck again in the Bay Area, this time aiming for Tesla supercharging stations in Vallejo, as drivers discovered last weekend that charging cables had been severed, an act that inconveniences electric vehicle owners and reflects a worrying trend of metal theft.

On Mother's Day morning, citizens like Josh Beckler, who frequented the charging stations and has a background in investigating theft, found the damaged facilities. According to NBC Bay Area, they discovered that nine of the supercharger station's cables had been cut, leaving the drivers with nowhere to power their vehicles and causing expensive damage. It was assessed in the tens of thousands of dollars for repair costs; this incident is reportedly not a first for the area. You know, they left five charging stations. I’m pretty sure after they racked up, I don’t know what the quantity was, but almost 20 cables with the nozzles. Those are extremely heavy, so I’m imagining that’s all they could haul at one given time, Beckler explained, suggesting that the weight of the cables may have limited the thieves.

This incident has not been isolated to Vallejo, with reports from across the U.S. of similar thefts occurring at electric vehicle charging stations, as thieves are presumably attracted by the value of the copper contained within the cables. The cost of copper scrap in the region is about $3 per pound, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported, providing a lucrative, albeit illegal, incentive for such crimes.

Beckler, whose video of the vandalism went viral on TikTok, shared his frustration in the clip, You would think that it’s a protest or some symbol of activism, but he laughed it off and noted, But it’s not. It’s the Bay Area, according to a k9optima TikTok video, truckloads of copper-rich cables must have been carted off, indicating a determined effort on the part of the perpetrators. According to the California Energy Commission, there are approximately 10,000 Tesla supercharging stations scattered throughout California, suggesting plenty of targets for potential theft.

Tesla, faced with the challenge of these recurring incidents, has had to rapidly respond to restore functionality to the charging stations, the workers of which had managed to get the Vallejo site back up by dinner time Monday after the vandalism occurred, highlighting the resilience and quick turnaround of their repair teams in the face of such disruptions to their network.