Five arrested: $1 million of copper wire stolen - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Five arrested: $1 million of copper wire stolen

By John Bachman email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Riviera Beach Police have arrested five men who, they say, posed as AT&T workers to steal copper wire.

They're believed to be part of a ring that is stealing huge amounts of copper wire. Detectives say, they were selling it at recycling companies and scrapyards.

One by one, they were led out of the Riviera Beach Police station in handcuffs Tuesday afternoon. All five men are from Miami-Dade County.

Detectives say they were wearing orange shirts that said "Utility Maintenance and Repair Services" and bright yellow safety vests and construction helmets.

Police spotted their work trucks stopped at a gas station in Riviera Beach earlier Tuesday, and they had several lengths of cut copper cable in their truck along with bolt cutters.

Police say the men were opening manhole covers, going underground and cutting copper cables belonging to AT&T. It's estimated over three days, they had stolen more than $1 million in copper wire.

"After being a law enforcement officer for 15 years, when you hear about crimes, you know, you hear about so many within 15 years that nothing seems to surprise you anymore," said Lt. Alex Freeman of the Riviera Beach Police Department.

None of the men made any comment as they were being taken to a police van Tuesday afternoon following their arrest.

Police say the thefts of wire occurred in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. Not only did they have bolt cutters and copper wire in the truck, detectives say, they also had schematic diagrams showing the location of the AT&T cables under the streets.

How they got their hands on those diagrams is still under investigation.

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