Americana: Poles Apart

Criminals are not known for following the daily fluctuations of commodities markets, but they do have a sense of the value of things. When copper prices begin to climb, urban vandals start pulling pipes out of abandoned apartment buildings. Gold prices soar, and thieves start ripping necklaces off passersby. Now, with aluminum prices on the rise (up 36% since 1979), black market entrepreneurs are starting to chop down and steal streetlight poles.

South Florida is becoming the heart of darkness. In Dade County this year, at least 200 aluminum poles have been stolen...

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