You're describing what amounts to being an inside (topside?) job.
It absolutely requires some rigging to lower 500 kCMIL cable down from the 3rd floor -- if you're going to do so while it's on the spools.
Some 'landscaper trucks' have hoists for lifting LARGE trees into position. These are not common, ordinary trucks. They're built for the big industrial and commercial market -- in which full sized trees are shifted around to give a headquarters building and the like a mature landscape.
Such tree cranes are able to hoist multi-ton trees -- such as 100 year-old olive trees from an orchard to a backyard.
If that is the rig used... then it stands to reason that the job was fingered -- for a commission -- by one of the tradesmen -- and that the heist was performed by a crime gang.
In California these gangs come in two basic flavors: Mexican and Chinese -- criminal gangs are never multi-ethnic -- that's a Hollywood shtick. In both cases, the gangs are entirely oriented towards exporting the goods back to the home country.
Twin 40-foot containers were nabbed on the Long Beach docks -- absolutely crammed with stolen professional construction tools -- destination: China.
And in other news, tradesmen dedicated to the bowling arts have seen their ENTIRE tool kit -- in their truck -- evaporate from border states -- destination: Mexico and points south.
And, lastly, the famous Astin-Martin of Goldfinger movie fame was stolen from a Florida warehouse by high-line pros. Destination: some Narco-King south of the border. The car was literally flown out by a C-123 -- which is where some movie plots got the idea. (Con Air, etc.)
Such crimes are oriented towards 'exports' because any attempt to liquidate the hot goods within the US is going to bring the heat.
One last, last, true story: a civilian passerby was scoping ten Wemco reels of 750 kCMIL feeders in downtown Sacramento, during break-time. Once spotted, and persued, he ran at breakneck speed across the street.
Half-way through the cross-walk a gentleman 'clothes-lined' him straight to the asphalt.
It turned out the man was a parole officer -- and this 'client' had missed his appointments for the last month -- the very same 'copper shopper'!
His idea of gainful employment was being a finger-man for local crews looking to rip off electrical contractors. ( It's the value to weight thing: plumbing supplies are too heavy; HVAC, too specific -- copper feeders are just right.)
Any EC with big feeders ought to pencil in a security detail from a rent-a-cop if they're to remain overnight on a jobsite.
As for myself, I always took delivery in the morning... with installation the same day.
The only theives to bother my work -- were my own crew-men. They came back Saturday attempting to pull out 500 kCMIL copper with a jury-rigged sub-compact. It nearly took their bumper off.
Yes, yes, their obvious tire marks were in the dust, proximate to the building. While they couldn't get the wire to budge -- they did succeed in damaging the panels to the tune of $5,000 in repairs.
As the very same crew that installed them, there was no fear of leaving fingerprint evidence.
That jobsite was overrun with thieves. The boss loved to hire straight from the big house. He never did make the connection, though. He figured that he could 'aim' thieves.
Last edited by Tesla; 01/02/13 08:51 PM.