Man charged with cutting up, trying to steal Green Line signal cables

O'NeilMBTA Transit Police say Robert O'Neil's pants were not bulging early this morning because he was happy to see them, but because they were stuffed with a "large pair of cable cutters" he'd allegedly used to snip and try to remove Green Line signal wires running along the tracks at the Brookline Village trolley stop.

O'Neil, 43, of Medford, faces arraignment today in Brookline District Court on charges of larceny over $250, vandalizing railroad signals and trespassing.

MBTA and Brookline police arrived at the station around 2:10 a.m. after somebody called 911 to report a guy clipping cables and piling them on the tracks.

O'Neil tried to flee the scene, but was hampered by a "stiff legged" gait caused by having a large set of shears - and a pair of work gloves - in his pants, police say. They add:

A quick search of the adjacent area turned up a pile of MBTA cable cut into five foot sections piled in a dark area near the track bed.

Police add this shows the importance of people saying something when they see something.

The T reports workers were able to repair the damage in time for the bulk of the morning commute - only the first train of the morning was delayed, by seven minutes.

Innocent, etc.



Free tagging: 



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I have no clue how the Green Line works, but I'd imagine the signals are somewhat if it was the C line and the train doesn't get the red light and barrels through the washington/beacon st intersection, it could have been a disaster.


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What the hell is wrong with somebody that makes stealing the cables to a subway signal box seem like a good idea? I'm going to have to assume it is a drug problem, because only drug use could scramble your mind to the point that stealing the signal wires "makes sense" from a risk/profit standpoint.

Are they copper?

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There is a lot of theft of copper cables going on these days because the price of copper is rising but I don't think the Green Line is that fancy.

Yes, copper

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Virtually all electrical cables are copper since that is by far the best conductor of electricity available at a reasonable price.

There has been some attempt to use aluminum but only for wires inside houses, and even that has been fraught with problems.

Iron and steel simply don't conduct the electricity well enough.

Silver and gold are better conductors than copper, but of course the price prevents widespread use. Those metals are used in some demanding electronics devices.

Copper has been used basically since the invention of electricity for commercial purposes. Of course, years ago the price of copper wasn't so high that people would try to steal it.

Oh yeah, our economy is getting better,

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no question.

*sarcasm off*

Stealing greenline signal cables. Sad. Just sad.

Expensive Back Bay and downtown restaurants are doing fine, expensive stores are holding their own, people are camping out at Apple. And some are stealing MBTA signal cable and sleeping in the Public Garden an subway tunnels.

Yes, O'Neil probably has a 'problem' with gambling, substance abuse, etc. But I'm sure you all get my point.

Yeah, you're right, it's

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Yeah, you're right, it's Obama's fault that this down-on-his-luck blue collar do-gooder has had to resort to such low tactics to pay his rent.

We can ignore the fact that he was also arrested last year for assault with a dangerous weapon, resisting arrest, destruction of property. I'm sure those actions are a result of the economy, too.

Sorry, I didn't read the full story

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Does it say he was 'Blue Collar'? You use [spit out] the term 'Blue Collar' like it was dirty, unwholesome, or something.

MANY 'Blue Collar' people who never attended college [*gasp*] do perfectly OK, even great, in making a decent living. And they're decent, intelligent people.MANY 'White Collar' people do poorly in making a decent living, even many with 'advanced' degrees. And many are not decent or particularly intelligent people.

Finally, yes, President Obama has been in charge for the past 4 years. He takes most of the blame. Sorry, that's the way it works. It's the way it works for Democrats and Republicans, liberal and conservative alike. And I'm an independent.

2008 FBI report on copper theft threatening infrastructure

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You think copper theft from subways is an Obama phenomenon, Mr. GOP astroturfer? The problem of copper theft became so acute in the last years of the Bush presidency that the FBI issued a report that it threatened the country's infrastructure. Quote:

"Copper thieves are threatening US critical infrastructure by targeting electrical substations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads, water wells, construction sites, and vacant homes for lucrative profits. Copper thefts from these targets have increased since 2006; and they are currently disrupting the flow of electricity, telecommunications, transportation, water supply, heating, and security and emergency services, and present a risk to both public safety and national security."

Sad. Just sad.

I posted to comment above yours

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about blue collar workers. I NEVER said Obama was to blame for copper thieves. You have issues, friend, and I'm not a Republican. In fact I specifically said both main political parties take the blame for ll the sh*t going on, but of course Mr. Obama has been in charge for the last 4 years. Mr. Bush before him, and he also was to blame for many bad things.

And WTF is a 'GOP Astroturfer'? Seriously.