Proactive policing leads to arrests for theft of copper wire

January 16, 2008
Santa Paula Police Department

Two Santa Paula men were arrested on suspicion of grand theft and other charges when proactive policing led to the Santa Paula Police being notified first by a security company that an alarm had gone off at a business in Lemonwood Industrial Park.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesTwo Santa Paula men were arrested on suspicion of grand theft and other charges when proactive policing led to the Santa Paula Police being notified first by a security company that an alarm had gone off at a business in Lemonwood Industrial Park.The incident occurred early Saturday morning at Hayward Baker Inc., located at 1780 Lemonwood Drive, the scene of previous thefts said SPPD Chief Steve MacKinnon.“Actually, we’ve been working with them quite a bit...they’ve been hit pretty dramatically in the past four or five weeks,” by thefts targeting expensive copper wire, noted Chief MacKinnon.Thieves have even taken copper wiring “Out of machines, generators,” utilized by Hayward Baker “damaging the machines extensively. Copper is the big thing,” being targeted for theft. “I don’t know what value it is but Hayward Baker has been losing tens of thousands of dollars not counting the cost” of machine repair or replacement.“When you talk about wiring most people think of what they see in a television or cable, but what Hayward Baker is dealing with can be three or four inches thick, can weigh as much as 10 pounds a foot. It’s very high grade and unique to what they are doing at the company.”The SPPD worked with Hayward Baker personnel: “We went over and walked through their security system,” devising a plan to expedite alarm response.One idea centered on “Eliminating the number of steps with the alarm,” that caused a Hayward Baker representative being notified before the SPPD that the alarm had been activated.Due to the number of thefts at the company the SPPD and Hayward Baker decided to “Have the security company call us directly so we could catch the guys there on the property,” said Chief MacKinnon.
When the January 12 report of the alarm was received by the SPPD the Officers “went down and skipped” the normal security measures of checking doors and windows to see if the business had been broken into.Instead, Officers headed right where they believed any thieves might be located: “They snuck around to the back through the chain link fence and actually caught them on the property...it worked out very well,” said Chief MacKinnon.Senior Officer Clark said that “Upon the Officers’ arrival, along with K-9 Jack, they immediately responded to the north bank of the Santa Clara River,” adjacent to Hayward Baker property.SPPD Officers and K-9 Jack encountered “two male subjects exiting a hole in the chain link fence along the property line,” with one suspect holding a spool of the highly valuable copper wire.“One of the subjects attempted to run and flee from the scene but was apprehended a short distance away by the Officers and K-9 Jack,” without injury sustained by the Officers, K-9 Jack or the suspects, noted Sr. Officer Clark. The suspects were taken into custody without further incident.It was later confirmed the copper wire belonged to Hayward Baker Inc., “Not the only victim,” of such thefts “but the one that has been working with us and we’re seeing some success with them,” said Chief MacKinnon.Francisco Franco, 28 years and Benito Ramirez, 25 years, both of Santa Paula were arrested and booked on several charges including grand theft, prowling, possession of burglar tools and trespassing.Both Franco and Ramirez were both lodged at the Ventura County Jail pending a court appearance.



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