VENTURA COUNTY — In a case of might appear at first blush as a recycling effort gone to illegal extremes, 33-year-old Santa Paula resident Sergio Vasquez Gutierrez, on active probation at the time of his arrest on the afternoon of July 6 th , now sits in the Ventura County Jail on a no-bail hold for the crime of stealing copper wire…a lot of copper wire.
A 911 call for service by a member of the public who had just observed a trio of men climbing Southern California Edison poles brought Ventura County Sheriff’s Department deputies attached to Fillmore Patrol Services rolling up to the reported location in the unincorporated area of the county. According to VCSD spokesman Sgt. Will Hollowell, responding deputies
encountered three men on the scene. Gutierrez was promptly detained while the other two suspects “fled” and remain at large.
The immediately ensuing investigation led cops to the discovery of “approximately 100 feet of copper telecommunication wire, cutting tools, and a ladder” in Gutierrez’s possession. It was quickly determined that “several sections of the telecommunication copper wire had been cut from Southern California Edison utility poles” with the intention to “recycle the stripped metal for money at recycling centers.”
Gutierrez was provided transportation to Ventura County Jail, where he was booked on charges of grand theft, criminal conspiracy, felony vandalism, possession of burglary tools, and violation of probation terms.
Photo: Courtesy Fillmore Patrol Services, Fillmore Detective Bureau