Tustin man accused of stealing copper wire

COSTA MESA — A man accused of stealing copper was arrested Wednesday after a police helicopter spotted him on a rooftop, trying to hide from officers, authorities said.

Craig Steven Bleich, 48, of Tustin, was booked on suspicion of grand theft in Costa Mesa, where police said he was trying to steal copper wire from businesses next to John Wayne Airport.

About 10:20 p.m. Wednesday, a person spotted Bleich on the roof of a building at 2950 Airway Ave., a commercial area next to the airport with few lights that is usually empty at night.

Police arrived and could hear someone on the roof and called in the Eagle helicopter, which found Bleich trying to hide, said Lt. Mark Manley.

With the fire department providing a ladder, officers went up and captured Bleich, Manley said.

Copper was a hot item a couple of years ago when thieves would steal the metal and sell it for scrap, Manley said.

"I haven't heard of it in a while but it's a crime of opportunity," he said.

Bleich is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.

— Joseph Serna

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