Visalia copper wire thieves arrested

July 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police say two South Valley men who stole more than $200,000 worth of property are in jail tonight.

Visalia police have arrested Jason Stockdale and Jason Ramirez for a string of burglaries throughout the city. An empty Vons building is just one of several places where investigators say the two men broke in to. The men then very methodically started stealing copper wire.

Police say they were seasoned criminals who carefully pried their way into empty buildings to steal metal. Investigators tell us 31-year-old Jason Ramirez and 39-year-old Jason Stockdale targeted serveal empty Visalia businesses.

"These individuals would walk out these abandoned buildings and just completely just strip out the copper wire from electrical wiring, plumbing fixtures," said Sgt. Ozzie Dominguez from the Visalia Police Department.

Detectives believe the men stripped wire from an empty Vons grocery store, an old Staples building and stole about 250 thousand dollars worth of metal from a CVS Longs pharmacy. Earlier in July someone saw the men trespassing and called it in.

"You feel horrible, I have been working so hard all my life," said Frank Serpa from Serpa Automotive.

Frank Serpa knows what it's like to be their victim. Police say his former business was targeted by Ramirez, late last year.

"They totally vandalized the place absolutely from front to back," Serpa said.

Serpa owned a car dealership. That is where investigators tell us Ramirez stole his car, computers and copper wire. He was on the lose with a warrant out for his arrest for that crime. Serpa hopes this time he will stay in jail for a long time.

"It's very difficult when you wake up in the morning and go to work and the next thing you see is cars broken all over the place and when they do that it's tens and tens of thousands of dollars," Serpa said.

Police are encouraging all business owners to install an alarm system at their businesses to prevent these sort of crimes. They are also encouraging people to install surveillance cameras


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