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Copper thieves caught on camera vandalizing LA property; suspects sought

February 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Police are asking for the public's help to identify two thieves who reportedly tore up city property to yank out copper wire in October.

City officials say copper thefts have become a rampant problem throughout Los Angeles. The city reportedly spent $1 million to fix damaged property and replace stolen copper wire in 2012.

L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich released surveillance video of the two thieves in action last Oct. on Tuesday. A nearby resident's camera recorded the theft which occurred near his or her home.

Trutanich said copper thieves are usually hard to capture because most copper thefts occur quickly in the middle of the night.

It took the suspects featured in the footage one-minute and eight seconds to rip out yards and pounds worth of copper bellow the streetlight. Officials said the thieves then turn around and sell the valuable metal for a lot of money.

"This is a theft that occurs in the middle of the night by guys that you don't see, by guys that you don't know are there, but yet are ripping this city off on a regular systematic basis," Trutanich said. "If the recycler who's taking this metal knows or suspects that this metal is stolen, we're going to catch you too."

Councilman Tom LaBarge is offering a $25,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of copper thieves. LaBarge hopes new information will come forward in light of the reward.

Anyone with information regarding copper thefts in the L.A. area or who recognizes the suspects in the surveillance footage was urged to contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may text the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.


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