Thieves target electric vehicle charging stations, likely for copper in cables: officials

An undesired trend seen all around the country is now playing out in Philadelphia.

A Roxborough charging station for electric vehicles (EV) was vandalized on Ridge Avenue. Plastic bags are covering the charging cables that were sliced off.

Adam Nichols drives a Chevy Bolt and uses the station three to four times a week while working out across the street.

"I’m very shocked, it’s very disappointing," said Nichols. "This charging station gets a lot of use. It’s a convenient spot for a lot of people. I’ve never seen this, and I go to a lot of different charging stations in the Philadelphia area. I’ve never seen this before."

Law enforcement suspects the charging cables are now the easy target for copper thieves.

Matt Skomsky stopped by to take a look at the damage himself.

"You know you don’t like seeing stuff like that around here. I don’t have an EV, but you know, I’m sure they’re not happy about it and you don’t want to see any crime around here," said Skomsky. "It’s interesting. You would never think something like that is happening but it’s out in the open, easy for people to steal so, either they’re going to have to change up the design, or people are going to have to keep an eye out."

Electrify America, which services the charging station, told FOX 29 in a statement:

"Due to vandalism, the Electrify America chargers at 7162 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia will remain unavailable. We are working with local law enforcement as to the source of the property damage. The negative impact on EV drivers is unfortunate, and we hope the matter will be resolved quickly. We will provide an update in the Electrify America app when the chargers become available."

Philadelphia Police said the department is aware of people stealing various kinds of cables for the precious metal inside.

"Maybe potential of having cameras," said Nichols for added security, "Having a device that would electrify you unless you have a code that turns off the alarm."

Nichols said he’ll have to put a lot of thought into where he goes to charge now that his usual station is down.