THE OLD: When Greece adopted the euro, it poured billions into modernizing its infrastructure, building spectacular bridges, highways, and a brand new rail transit network for Athens.

THE NEW: Now, locked in recession and crushed by debt, Greeks are targeting many of those projects, gouging out the metal and selling it for scrap to feed ravenous demand driven by China and India. Authorities say mainstream Greeks, not just those on the margins of society, are increasingly turning to metal robbery.

THE IMPACT: Thefts of industrial cable, power-line transformers and other metal objects have triggered blackouts and massive train delays.

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