Thieves allegedly used pry bars to lever over concrete parking barriers placed at the bases of field lighting towers at Merle Logan Field to protect service access plates from theft and vandalism. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Thieves steal hundreds of feet of copper wire from Merle Logan field

Turf fields at Beban Park in Nanaimo closed for several days after theft, estimated $20,000 in damage

Repair technicians and City of Nanaimo parks workers were out repairing damage and replacing circuitry Thursday following a wire theft at Merle Logan Field.

The theft happened sometime between 1-6 a.m. Wednesday, according to a Nanaimo RCMP press release.

Police were alerted to the theft at the artificial turf fields, located at Beban Park on 2235 Dorman Rd., by city employees.

Workers at the scene told the News Bulletin thieves had apparently used pry bars to lever away heavy concrete traffic barriers, that were put in place to prevent access covers on the circuit boxes at the bases of lighting towers from being broken into. Not all of the tower bases were successfully accessed.

According to the press release, an estimated 90 to 150 metres (300-500 feet) of wire went missing. Fibre optic wiring was cut, but not removed. The estimated cost for repairs will be about $20,000 and the fields will be closed for several days while the damage is repaired.

“The fields are a tremendous asset to our community and are used daily by various sporting groups,” Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in the press release. “It is so disheartening to the see the extent to which thieves will go, with no thought or regard for the impact their actions have on so many.”

There have been several past wiring and equipment thefts at the site, including one that took place in July 2019. O’Brien said police have made arrests for some of those crimes.

The city has also had anti-theft measures in place, but those were defeated in this instance, said O’Brien.

“Obviously [the city] is going to learn from this and they’re going to revamp and make them even harder to defeat,” he said.

Anyone with information about this theft is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and refer to file number 2020-35962.
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