Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Heist 4

In the space-time continuum of one week, our electricity was stolen no less than FOUR TIMES. It was like a cheap c-class heist movie with three crap sequels. 

Last weekend about 11 PM our electricity got disconnected. It's a routine thing here in Liberia and "normally" they restore the power in 10-15 mins unless its a major outage or problem. The whole night went by and light did not come back.

We called up the LEC (Liberia Electricity Corp) in the morning and they said they will send their crew to check out the problem as its not a general one and only affecting my apartment. I live in a first floor apartment with a terrace on top.

The LEC guys came and checked the meter and discovered no problems!! I got curious and decided to check the terrace to see if everything was okay up there. (The electricity cable that feeds the house runs on the floor of the terrace).

To our collective shock and horror, we discovered that the whole cable has been removed/stolen and that was the cause of the light being disconnected. We immediately got an electrician to redo the connection. We got a new cable (About 100 feet long) and the electricity came back on.

Now the unbelievable shocking, horrific and disgusting part:

Again the next night the same robbers visited us. Again they stole the cable. Again we were out of electricity!! The next morning we went up to the terrace to check and not surprisingly the cable was indeed missing!! We felt like a bunch of abused fools.

So we decided that we need to do something better this time around.

We got another roll of 100 feet cable ($100.00) and got some plastic pipes to run the cable inside it and then asked a masoner to cement the pipes to the floor. We were confident that would be a fool-proof solution. Nope, we were wrong. 

The robbers came back again and cooly removed the cable from the pipes and left the pipes cemented to the floor and for the third time we were without electricity!!

We got smarter. Got another roll of cable and decided that this time around we would cut open the pipes at equal distances and put cement on the cable and pipes so that even if the rogues want to draw out the cable it will be stuck and they will fail.

Wrong again!

They came back at 5 in the morning. The light got disconnected.   It was clear it was them: heavy, scraping sounds from the terrace. They took their sweet time. But there was no way to go up there and try to catch them. Anything can go wrong and $ 100.00 worth of cable is not worth it. These 'rogues' are druggies and at the end of day, they are probably only going to get $ 10.00 for this stolen cable and clearly they need their daily fix. 

The next day we confirmed that the cable had indeed been stolen. The guys had the tools to dig out the cement and remove the cable out of the pipes and take it away. 

The latest solution has been to chisel the terrace floor about 2 inches deep and then to get the electrician to lay another cable inside the trench and then cover it up with rich mix of cement and concrete. 

They did try to steal the cable again because one night the TV started flickering really badly. The next morning it was evident the the rogues/druggies had tried to steal the cable again but were not lucky. It was too much effort. They did steal some of the neighbour's shit up there though. 

What a frustrating WEEK! Randall Street is a bitch. Apparently, it was always like this - even before the war. 

The good thing is that the landlord is building a wall around the building and hopefully, it'll protect us from these guys. Hope springs eternal! 

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