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Painters cause Bayonne Bridge power outage by stealing copper wire from underneath, Port Authority police charge

Photo Credit: Port Authority PD

BEYOND BERGEN: A power outage on the Bayonne Bridge led to the discovery that a pair of painters had climbed under the span and stolen 120 feet of copper cable that they sold for scrap, Port Authority police said.

The theft from an electrical panel on the New Jersey side of the span was discovered following the June 26 outage, the authority’s Joseph Pentangelo said. The bridge had been closed for construction twice the day before.

Port Authority detectives zeroed in on Tiago Bruniera, 33, of Newark and 48-year-old James B. Pace of Middletown after interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance photos, Pentangelo said.

Bruniera “donned a safety harness and climbed over the railing of the bridge to access the underside of the roadway surface to reach an electrical junction panel,” he said.

Then he “cut and removed the cable,” which was lowered by a boom and guided into the back of a pick-up truck before being driven from the bridge to Pace’s car, Pentangelo said.

The estimated cost for replacing the cable was more than $9,000, he said.

It was sold for scrap for less than $200.

PAPD investigators arrested the pair at the bridge yesterday and charged with theft and criminal mischief.

MUGSHOTS: Port Authority PD

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