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Copper thieves hit SCV for 3rd time

Posted: November 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.

For the third time in six weeks, metal thieves have snipped local power lines to steal $300,000 of copper wire in one incident and, most recently, leaving $150,000 of cut cable on the ground sparking a brush fire.

In all, copper wire valued at $600,000 has been clipped in three separate incidents in the Santa Clarita Valley since October.

Both thefts, and the one incident of attempted theft, have occurred on local property owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

On Wednesday, shortly before midnight, metal thieves caused a brush fire when they cut wire on DWP property on Newhall Ranch Road at Golden Valley Road in Saugus, according to deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department.

“We are actively looking for these suspects,” Lt. Tom Bryski said Sunday.

“Especially for something like this, of such a high value.”

Deputies learned of Wednesday’s attempted theft after responding to a brush fire, they wrote in their report.

A 24-year-old woman told them she saw “a bright flash” on the DWP property, then saw brush fire start, they wrote.

Deputies immediately called the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“It was hard to access because the fire was right under the hyrdo wires,” Fire Department Inspector Bernard Peters said.

“We couldn’t use helicopters for that reason,” he said. “It was just hard to get to.”

Firefighters extinguished the fire within an hour, Peters said.

According to their report, deputies discovered once the fire was out, “that copper wire was cut from the insulator which is what started the brush fire.”

After checking the area, they found a backpack containing foam padding and a saw blade.

The cut wire was valued by DWP at $150,000.

“Our legal or field investigators will have to get back to you,” said DWP spokeswoman MaryAnne Pierson.

Confirmed thefts

In a second incident, “thieves climbed a hyrdo tower and stole a large amount of copper cable,” deputies wrote in their report.

Sometime between midnight Nov. 4 and shortly before noon on Nov. 6, in a case of felony grand theft, the thieves climbed a tower near Soledad Canyon Road and Valley Circle and stole the cable.

A 52-year-old DWP employee who contacted the sheriff’s station to report the theft of 2,800 feet of “good condition” copper told deputies the stolen metal was valued at $300,000.

In a third incident, sometime in October, thieves snipped power lines to steal 800 feet of copper valued at $150,000, sheriff’s deputies reported at the time.

They cut the padlock on a gate barring access to DWP property at Oak Avenue, then snipped the power lines between two towers and stole 800 feet of copper wiring, they said.

No arrests have been made in any of the incidents.




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