Crews refurbishing the new public transit line up to Oslo’s rebuilt Holmenkollen Ski Jump are sounding alarms over repeated theft of cables containing copper. They fear the copper robberies may delay completion of the important transit line in time for the Nordic Skiing World Championships this winter.
Newspaper VG reported how construction crews have arrived at work to find newly installed cables cut and removed from the tracks where they’d been laid. The copper inside the cables is considered a valuable commodity, and a target of organized bands of thieves believed to be from Romania and operating in Norway.
“They know what they’re out after,” Bjørn Holthe Andersen, in charge of the construction project, told VG. “First they’ve stolen cutting equipment from a container. Then they’ve taken the cables.”
Around five tons of cable are missing, valued at more than NOK 1 million. Police have found cable insulation material at a camp used by Romanians near Jordal, on the east side of Oslo.
The transit line from Majorstuen to Holmenkollen and Frognerseteren, called Holmenkollbanen, has been closed for months as crews work to upgrade the system that’s supposed to transport the majority of spectators from the city up to the new ski jump and sports complex.
They’re working on a tight deadline, and not only are the thefts costly, they’re delaying the entire project. “This damages the progress of our work,” Andersen told VG. “The clock is running and we have a deadline to get the line running again, that’s why we’re worried.”
The line up to the new ski jump, which opened to the public earlier this month and suffered some problems of it own, isn’t the only one being hit. Police say construction sites around the metro line at Lambertseter also have been hit, along with sites in Romerike, while train lines also have been the target of copper robbers.
A private security firm has now been hired to patrol the line, and police are also investigating.