Barefoot thief, 1 other caught stealing reels of copper wire from Riverside business

"They cut the lock on my gate and pushed it open ... almost as if they knew where they were going," said the business owner.

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Thursday, June 22, 2023 7:30AM
Barefoot thief, 1 other steal reels of copper wire from IE business
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Surveillance cameras captured the suspects rolling several reels of valuable copper into their cars. Plus, one of the suspects did it while barefoot!

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Surveillance cameras captured the moment thieves stole large reels of copper wire from the storage yard of a Riverside business.

It all happened Monday around 10:30 p.m. at Sierra Pacific Electrical Contracting on Avalon Street.

Police are now hoping the footage will help them track down the suspects, one of whom was given an interesting nickname.

The company's owner, David Loop, said the driver in the crime apparently didn't have any shoes on, nicknaming him "the barefoot bandit."

"They cut the lock on my gate and pushed it open and drove in, almost as if they knew where they were going," said Loop.

The video captures a second vehicle pulling up and waiting near the gate while the first vehicle enters the property.

"The passenger jumped out and started working on loading the wire, and the driver kind of moseyed out," said Loop. "His shorts are hanging down and he's barefoot and just rolls another reel of wire towards his accomplice and that guy loads it up and then they take off."

Loop installed a sophisticated security system at the business after another theft several years ago. He said in this case, the thieves made off with expensive reels of wire used to install streetlights and traffic signals.

"They're probably going to get $500 in scrap for it," said Loop. "The scrap value is nowhere near the actual value that I pay for it."

Last week, a different thief was caught cutting through a copper pipe at an apartment complex in Studio City, causing a widespread flood.

READ MORE | Man steals copper pipes from Studio City apartment building; causes widespread flooding

In recent years, copper has been a popular target for criminals who then sell it to make some quick cash.

"I'm the business owner and it's a substantial hit for me," said Loop. "I'm trying to feed my family and earn a living and they don't realize. They think it's like a victimless crime but it's not. It hurts."

Loop's surveillance camera was able to capture a license plate number on one of the vehicles. He has since turned over the material to the Riverside Police Department.

Meanwhile, anyone with information is urged to contact authorities.