The Merced County Sheriff’s Department’s crackdown on metal thefts has nabbed two more suspects and this time the suspected thieves hail from Turlock.
Just after 4 a.m. Friday, a deputy was on patrol in the area of Highway 140 and Tina Avenue, outside of Merced, when he noticed a small pickup coming off the canal bank.
The deputy made a vehicle stop and found an estimated 300 feet of copper wire in the bed of the truck, along with bolt cutters.
The driver, Burgiss Brown, 38, of Turlock is on parole for burglary and the passenger, 44-year-old Timothy Beres of Turlock is on probation for narcotics charges, sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie said.
The two men said they were fishing, but after back tracking and follow up investigation, the deputy found five pumps and five pump houses had been vandalized with their copper wire stripped, MacKenzie said.
Brown was booked on possession of stolen property and burglary tools, narcotics and parole violation and remains in jail without bail. Beres was booked on possession of stolen property and burglary tools and conspiracy to commit a crime and remains in jail in lieu of a $16,000 bail.
The sheriff’s department has made a total of 10 arrests for the week in an effort to fight copper and miscellaneous metal thefts.
“On Monday, all day shift personnel started their shift at 3 a.m. in an effort to target and conduct a zero tolerance effort on metal thieves,” MacKenzie said. “With the overlap with graveyard shift, it doubled the amount of officers patrolling in the hours we believe most metal thieves are hitting victims. Since July of this year just in the Merced, Planada/Le Grand area we have taken more than 50 metal theft reports. With the economy still in a recession and metal prices rising, metal theft is again a major problem for rural areas.”
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.