LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Copper wires thieves caused dark and potentially dangerous driving conditions when they stripped copper wire from about 20 freeway light poles near downtown Las Vegas earlier this month.

NDOT took immediate action to investigate and fix the lights at the Spaghetti Bowl when FOX5 News noticed the dark lights and first reported them. 

NDOT has been working to repair the lights and had a goal of getting all of them back on before the busy Thanksgiving travel holiday.

But on Tuesday, NDOT said all the lights would not be repaired before Thanksgiving because copper wire thieves struck again in the last few days. 

NDOT Spokesman Tony Illia said prevention measures in place did work in the recent incident.

“And although the heist was unsuccessful, the wire was still sufficiently damaged enough that it was deemed unusable,” said Illia.

“Criminals have become increasingly brazen and ambitious in their schemes, using power tools and spools to steal wiring on a commercial scale, fencing the stolen cache across the border.”

Illia says about 30% of the affected lights are now working again. 

“As it stands, most of the under-bridge lights are now working, specifically from the Martin Luther King Boulevard southbound on-ramps for north and southbound Interstate 15,” said Illia.

Illia said the first incident cost about $140,000 in material and labor replacement costs. He said it may take about three to four weeks to complete electrical work and get all the lights back on.

In the meantime, he advised people to be cautious and attentive when driving through the Spaghetti Bowl at night. He said no accidents have been reported due to darker conditions.

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