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Three Suspects Arrested in Thwarted Santa Monica Copper Wire Theft

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By Jason Islas
Lookout reporter

April 2, 2014 -- Santa Monica Police arrested three people suspected of trying to steal copper wiring from a light pole in the bayside city’s wealthy northeast side early Monday morning.

Police charged L.A. residents Ismael Miranda, Isidro Miranda Marquez and Herson Manuel Davila with grand theft, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of burglary tools after officers observed someone “bent over the base of a light pole” on the 800 block of Harvard Street at about 2:14 a.m., officials said.

The office “noticed that all of the lights on the block suddenly went out and could see someone working,” said Sergeant Jay Moroso. “The officer recognized this as a possible wire theft in progress.

“He knew that people stealing copper wire from light poles will first turn off the power to the light poles in a certain area before going inside the light pole box to cut the wire,” Moroso said.

“The cutting is done in the boxes at several light poles along the street. After all of the cutting is completed, the copper wire is pulled from one light pole to the other,” he said.

According to officials, the officer watched as the three suspects converged at the light pole.

“At one point one of the suspects saw a marked police unit, parked in the area that had responded to the call,” Moroso said.

“The suspect appeared to be startled at the sight of the police car in the area, threw a pair of wire cutters on the ground and started walking away from the area,” he said.

Monday’s thwarted heist was the most recent in a spate of copper wire thefts in the north end of Santa Monica that has cost the City around $45,000.

In October, due to rising copper prices, over the course of six incidents, thieves made off with about $25,000 worth of copper wiring from the 800 block of Yale Street.

The City Council eventually voted to earmark $45,000 to pay for repairs and new wiring. (“Santa Monica City Council Earmarks $45,000 to Repair Copper Theft Damage, December 2, 2013)

At the time, NASDAQ reported the going price for copper had risen from $3.05 a pound to $3.55 a pound last August.

Moroso said that one of the suspects arrested Monday -- 44-year-old Ismael Miranda -- had been previously charged with stealing copper wiring in Santa Monica, though he did not specify exactly when.

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