Thieves steal 16 feet of copper from Muni tunnel 

Service on Muni’s N-Judah line was shut down in the Sunset Tunnel for almost three hours on Friday, because thieves stole valuable copper from the overhead wire inside the tunnel.

During the early-morning hours on Friday, when Muni service was not running through the tunnel, thieves stole 16 feet of copper wire, according to John Haley, the agency’s transit director. The copper completes the electrical circuit necessary to run transit service in the tunnel, Haley said.  

The shutdown occurred just after 5 a.m., and initially Muni officials tried to single-track its N-Judah lines through the tunnel, which runs from Duboce Park to Cole Valley. At 7:38 a.m., the transit agency elected to shut down the tunnel altogether to make the necessary repairs, according to Muni officials.

At 10:33 a.m., the agency had fixed the problem and opened the tunnel back up for light-rail service.

“We’re annoyed and angered by this,” said Haley. “This was a willful and callous act of theft.”

While the tunnel was shut down, Muni ran bus shuttles between Carl Street and Hillway Avenue and Church Street and Duboce Avenue. Regular inbound light-rail service switched at Carl and Hillway, and outbound service turned around at Church and Duboce.

Haley said that video cameras captured footage of the theft, and that the San Francisco Police Department is investigating the incident.

The N-Judah is Muni’s only light-rail line that uses the Sunset Tunnel. The N-Judah is one of Muni’s busiest lines, carrying more than 45,000 passengers each day.

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Will Reisman

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