02/25/2014 12:04 EST | Updated 04/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Copper wire theft being investigated in Langley, B.C.

Police in Langley, B.C., are appealing to the public for help in identifying whomever is responsible for a damaging copper wire theft earlier this month. 

Langley RCMP were called to the 5700 block of Production Way on Feb. 16 after a BC Hydro crew found two power poles chopped down and three attached electrical transformers opened in an apparent copper metal theft.

BC Hydro has estimated the total cost of damage and repairs to be greater than $75,000.

"These incidents are extremely dangerous due to the hazards to the thieves as well as innocent members of the public who may inadvertently come across the electrical wires," said Langley RCMP spokesperson Holly Marks in a statement on Tuesday.

B.C. passed the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act in July 2012 — which requires scrap metal dealers to record the identities of people selling them materials, to pay sellers in cheques of $50 or less, and to file daily inventory reports with police — in an effort to stop the multi-million dollar trade in stolen metal. 

Utility companies have said the legislation has been effective. Even so, the City of Surrey decided this month it will become the first city in North America to replace all copper wire connecting its streetlights with a less valuable alloy. The project could take up to a year and will cost about $9 million.

Police are asking anyone with information about the theft to call them directly at 604-532-3200. Anyone wishing to leave an anonymous tip can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.