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Driver raises concerns after vandals repeatedly strike charging station: 'Just so frustrating'

"They need to make this a more serious crime."

"They need to make this a more serious crime."

Photo Credit: iStock

One concerned Redditor recently took to the r/SeattleWA subreddit to complain about what has apparently become a repeat occurrence. 

"Vandals cut, steal newly installed EV charging station cables for [the] second time in a month," the poster wrote, linking to an article about the theft from the local KIRO 7 News.

"They need to make this a more serious crime."
Photo Credit: Reddit

According to the article, the new electric vehicle charging station was set to be unveiled by Puget Sound Energy and the Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse, but the opening was delayed after someone cut the cables.

Once the cables were replaced a month later, the opening finally took place — but the chargers only lasted a week before the vandals and/or thieves struck again.

"Any vandalism, any loss for anybody is just so frustrating," Carmen Palmer of the local Sumner Police Department told KIRO 7. "It took away an amenity that could've helped our local small businesses."

It is unclear whether the culprit or culprits destroyed the charging station out of some sort of antipathy toward electric cars, or (perhaps more likely) if they just wanted the valuable copper wire contained in the cables.

Indeed, wire-stripping at EV charging stations is happening across the country, indicating that the perpetrators are more interested in the wires than in the entire concept of electric vehicles

The result, however, is still bad news for electric cars and their users. Though EVs are much more planet-friendly than their traditional gas-powered counterparts, producing far less planet-overheating air pollution on balance, their adoption has slowed recently.

One of the reasons for the slowdown in EV adoption is consumers being worried that they may end up stranded without a nearby charging station. Taking existing charging stations out of commission will not help that perception.

"They need to make this a more serious crime," wrote one of the Reddit thread's many upset commenters. This commenter, and many others like them, was referring to the concept of "deterrence," a disputed and often harmful assumption that harsher punishments prevent criminal activity.

Many EV charging stations have security cameras built-in or nearby so that vandals and thieves can be caught in the act, with Tesla Supercharger stations among them. More stations need to do this to deter these crimes. 

Another Redditor had a helpful suggestion: "Idk why no one's talking about the more obvious solution of retractable (locking) cables. ... Sure it's a bit tricky with how thick they are, but totally doable."

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