John Hutton, Federal Way Parks Director, knew there was a major copper theft crisis in the summer of 2015, but he had no solution. Thieves were breaking into the Federal Way ballpark and cutting the copper, costing the city money to repair the damage, in addition to the loss of revenue from the leagues while the parks were nonfunctional.

Thieves were cutting wire in the middle of the night, driving their trucks onto the fields, and ripping out the wire. Though it takes hours to remove the copper from the ground, they were still able to get away it. Camera footage captured the crime, but there was no system able to notify the police in real-time.

MacDonald-Miller’s very own, Dan Freyling, saw an opportunity to help John and the parks department save money, time, and resources. He reached out to his MacMiller coworkers in electrical to help create a preventative solution. Electrical service technician Dean Graves came up with a great system that worked, costing approximately $12,000 to $15,000 for each park. Over the past several years, every city park has been hit by copper wire thieves and each time the repair costs ranged from $5,000 to $40,000.

Shout-out to the team collaboration by Dan Freyling, Dean Graves, Ed Adams, Lindsey Andrews, Kenny Sproul and Aaron Unger, for incredible team collaboration. The solution for the city was possible because of their teamwork and ingenuity.

Now after implementing the new system, when a criminal cuts the wire, officials are notified with a graphic of the field highlighting the location the wire was cut. This will give the police the opportunity to approach the field quietly and catch the thieves in the act.

The intent of the system is to make the safer for the officer in the field to make a prosecutable arrest. Also to catch them in the act and the repairs to the lighting system at a fraction of the cost of replacing an entire electrical lighting system.

See the local media coverage here: New security system targets copper thieves at Federal Way parks.

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