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Duo charged with copper theft in Delhi
booth robert
Robert Booth

About $2,000 worth of stolen copper wiring was recovered Monday in Delhi after a Merced County Sheriff’s deputy pulled a suspect over for a traffic violation.

Around 8:30 a.m. Monday Deputy Brian Miller spotted Leonard Rouse, 38, driving a Ford F150 in the area of Canal Drive and South Avenue in Delhi. The deputy recognized Rouse from prior contacts and knew he had a suspended license, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

When Miller initiated a vehicle stop Rouse tried to lose him by going through an orchard, but the deputy circumvented him at the exit, MacKenzie said.

Inside the bed of the pickup was vinyl sheathing and copper wire. MacKenzie said Miller could tell the copper wire was from a specialty cable used in telecommunications. Through his investigation, Miller discovered that the copper wiring was stolen from Union Pacific Railroad.

Deputy Alex Barba and Detective Roy Tighe went to Rouse’s house in the 15000 block of El Capitan Way to do a compliance check on his probation status.

Once at the house, deputies discovered more copper wire and wire covering, which had been stripped off. All together they estimated that it was at least 500 feet of wire estimated at $2,000, MacKenzie said.

Rouse is in custody on possession of stolen property and driving on a suspended license and remains on $11,080 bail. Robert Booth, 36, who was in the truck with Rouse, was arrested as well and remains in custody on $10,000 bail for possession of stolen property.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.