CORONA (CBS) — Two men were behind bars Friday on suspicion of trying to steal copper wiring from street lights in Corona, where there have been a rash of copper-related thefts.
Jace Lee Durham, 27, and Albert George Rodenas, 36, both of San Bernardino, were arrested about 2 a.m. Thursday and booked on suspicion of attempted grand theft, conspiracy and vandalism after a patrol officer them loitering, armed with wire cutters, in an area where the street lights were out, police said.
Both Durham and Rodenas were being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. Rodenas was additionally booked for parole violations.
A patrol unit cruising the area of Sampson Avenue and Radio Road spotted the men loitering and detained them for questioning, Detective Bryan Wood said. During a search, the patrol officers found wire-cutting equipment in their possession and noticed several street lights were out, Wood said.
“Upon checking further, the officers discovered metal plates removed from the light poles and wires cut,” Wood said. “No wire, however, had been removed or stolen.”
The city has been plagued by a rash of copper thefts over the last several years, mainly in its commercial areas. In 2007 and 2008, thieves ripped out wiring to conduits for lights at Mountain Gate and Santana Regional parks in Corona, resulting in more than $50,000 worth of repairs.
In February, the city posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for copper-related crimes.
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