Seven men were arrested after an eagle-eyed transit employee spotted them allegedly stealing copper cables from a Vancouver substation Monday morning, but not before an estimated $2.8 million in damage was done.

According to police, the Canada Line worker was checking SkyTrain tracks above the BC Hydro substation in the 400-block of Kent Street on at 2 a.m., when he noticed a group of men below him loading copper wire into a van.

He called 911, and seven men were arrested as they tried to escape over a fence.

After checking the substation yard, police discovered that someone had cut through a chain-link fence to get inside, and was stripping the casing from large cables to get to the copper inside.

Police recovered hacksaws and several other tools from the scene.

BC Hydro estimates that a special submarine cable damaged during the alleged theft will cost $2.7 million to repair. Another cable worth $100,000 has not been recovered.

Mark Felling, 40, Christopher Felling, 45, and Garry Vanderklugt, all of Surrey, Richmond residents Stephane Daigle, 37, and Barry DeCosta, 50, and Stephen Fike, 44, of New Westminster, have all been charged with break and enter.