Man arrested in second theft of copper wire on Irvine bike path

For the second time in three days, Irvine police made an arrest in connection with the theft of copper wiring along a bike path near the 405 Freeway, authorities said.

At about 12:30 p.m. Monday, a contractor doing landscaping work for the city saw two people on bicycles taking copper wiring from light posts along the path between Jeffrey Road and Sand Canyon Avenue, according to police.

When officers arrived, they found one man with copper wiring and tools in his car, police said.

Armando Arroyo, 38, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft.

Arroyo is the third person recently taken into custody in that area on suspicion of stealing copper wire.

Police arrested two other men Saturday who are suspected of stealing about two feet of heavy wiring from an electrical box that powered lights in the area, authorities said.

“Copper wire is desirable to criminals because it can be recycled for a small profit,” Irvine police said in a news release.

Thieves often target abandoned buildings, construction sites and public infrastructure to steal the wiring, according to police.

“These thefts are harmful to the public because they can cause water and irrigation systems to be disabled, transportation systems to be threatened and public services at schools, hospitals and churches to be interrupted,” police said.

To acquire enough wire to make a $100 profit, a thief may cause as much as $5,000 in damage, police said.