BAKERSFIELD — Three men, including two convicted felons, were arrested at a Bakersfield recycling center on Tuesday for various violations.
Steven O’Toole, 39, 25-year-old Michael Mollenauer, and 45-year-old Eric Martinez, all from Bakersfield, were booked into the Kern County Jail for failing to use due diligence when purchasing utility grade copper wire. O’Toole was also booked for one count of being prohibited ex-felon in possession of ammunition.
According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Rural Crime Investigation Unit, the men were arrested after detectives conducted a compliance check on November 17 at a recycling center in the 2400 block of Edison Highway in Bakersfield. The check was conducted in response to several recent utility wire thefts in the area.
While at the center, detectives said they witnessed the three men attempting to recycle a large amount of utility wire. After making contact with the men, detectives determined O’Toole and Mollenauer were convicted felons. O’Toole also had a stay-away order per his probation terms from all recycling centers.
Following a search of O’Toole’s vehicle, detectives said they also located live ammunition and suspected drug paraphernalia. He had been arrested several times in 2014 on drug related charges, according to available records.
R & L Recycling Center, which is located at 2406 Edison Highway, was in trouble before. In July, the owner of the company, Roman Morales Gomez, was arrested for failing to follow the required protocols as well.
In another related incident, owner of a mobile recycling company was also arrested on Tuesday after he failed to comply local with recycling center laws.
Fredy Sosa, 35, was booked in to the Kern County Jail on purchase of certain metals without using due diligence, and failing to obtain information.
According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Rural Crime Investigation Unit, Sosa was arrested during an undercover operation aimed at mobile recyclers who are illegally recycling copper wire.
During the operation detectives said they contacted Sosa near the intersection of Brundage Lane and Union Avenue in central Bakersfield. He is the owner of Fredy Recycle out of Gardena in Southern California.
Detectives said that during their contact with Sosa, he failed to use due diligence when purchasing utility grade copper wire, properly document the transactions, or obtain personal information, which are violations of the penal code and Business and Professions code.