Ordinary scrap metal sells on the black market for about €1 for 10 kilograms ($.06 per pound), slightly over half the legal rate, while the contraband copper fetches about 40 times that amount — still a huge reduction compared to the cable’s market price.
Paraskevas Pourliakas, head of Greece’s rail workers association, says about 100 kilometers (more than 60 miles) of cable has been stolen in the last three years, costing the state rail company some €10 million ($12.8 million).
‘‘They even sever cables with electricity running through them,’’ Pourliakas said. ‘‘It’s creating a safety problem for our train and passengers.’’
Gatopoulos reported from Athens.