The BART system has the unfortunate honor of becoming the latest victim in the Bay Area's ongoing war on copper thieves after one such bandit narrowly dodged an oncoming train over the weekend. As BART cops told the Examiner, a train zipping between Balboa Park and Daly City was forced to pull the brakes to avoid hitting the thief who was pulling out wire from the trackway Sunday morning.

Authorities think they've already zeroed in on their suspect though — he is also wanted for a similar theft that occurred around 2 a.m. on Friday morning. In that case, he managed to make off with the stolen goods and also avoid having his car towed after illegally parking next to the tracks. The BART cops who called for the tow apparently had no idea his car was loaded with copper wires they've been sworn to protect.

The wiring on the BART tracks is used for connecting the electrified third rail (you know, the dangerous one) to the power supply, as well as for sending location information back to BART HQ so the people in charge can tell where the trains are. So even a small length of missing wire could lead to fires on the tracks or, more importantly, infuriating BART delays.

According to spokesman Jim Allison, the agency is no stranger to the heavy metal thievery that has struck everywhere from Facebook HQ to schoolhouses and cathedrals in the past few months, but the number of cases has been on the rise lately.

Previously: All Copper Theft coverage on SFist.