Police arrest suspected copper thieves

Two men were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of attempting to steal copper piping and wire from a Costa Mesa car dealership, police said.

A security guard called police at 4:30 a.m. Sunday to report suspicious noises coming from Orange Coast Buick GMC Cadillac, 2600 Harbor Blvd., which is currently undergoing remodeling, according to a news release.

Police said they found Manuel Ceballos, 40, of Santa Ana and Louis Montalvo, 46, of Costa Mesa holding flashlights and allegedly trying to steal copper piping and wire from what had been known as Nabers Cadillac for many years.

The two had forced their way into the fenced property, police said.

Ceballos and Montalvo were arrested on suspicion of burglary, receiving stolen property, possession of burglary tools and vandalism. They were booked at the Costa Mesa Police Department Jail and transferred to the Orange County Jail, where they are each being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Copper theft has been on the rise in the United States over the past several years because of increasing international demand and high resale value, according to an FBI bulletin.

— Hannah Fry


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