Chino Hills – Chino Hills Deputies have arrested two suspects in conjunction with the theft of $50,000 in copper wiring and tools. According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the Chino Hills Police Department, on Sun., Nov. 30 at approximately 12:05 a.m., a deputy was patrolling a vacant Kaiser Permanente site at 13000 Peyton Drive. The deputy happened upon Mario Lopez, 32, and Eduardo Guillen, 23, both from Ontario, in the process of stealing copper wire from a parking lot light pole.
Lopez was apprehended at the scene. Guillen fled toward Garey Avenue and SR-71. Additional Chino Hills Deputies quickly responded to the area and established a security perimeter. Guillen was soon located and detained near the intersection of Garey Avenue and Market Place in Pomona.
Deputies recovered copper wire, tools, and four damaged light poles with an estimated value and repair cost of $50,000.
Lopez and Guillen were booked at the West Valley Detention Center on suspicion of Conspiracy, Possession of Stolen Property, Grand Theft, and Vandalism.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the theft of copper wiring, pipes, tubing (and other metals) has reached $1 billion in loss and damages due to the increased value of scrap copper. Thieves are combing construction sites, abandoned buildings, and targeting light poles and commercial heating and air conditioning units.
One of the main concerns is that in order to get at the copper, thieves are causing more damage to the units they are extracting from than they are able to obtain looking for their $3 to $4 per pound for the metal. And if their targets are hooked up to live voltage, they could very well lose their lives.