Sean Driscoll, 37, pleaded not guilty to four counts of receiving stolen property. Detectives say he gave them the key evidence they needed to build a case against him and make an arrest.
Randy Tosi owns Bruno's Metal and Iron, and he's heard many tall tales over the years, so when Driscoll started showing up there sometimes twice a week, with stories he describes as baloney, he notified Fresno County detectives.
"He was doing the wrong stuff, but we did what we were supposed to do," said Tosi. "If Madera would have contacted Fresno (Sheriff's Office) or contacted us to look for him, he would have been captured a long time ago."
Madera County detectives say they had no idea Driscoll was a routine customer there. They say they were never notified, even though the suspect provided a license with a current Coarsegold address. The mountain town is in Madera County, but Bruno's is in Fresno County.
What everyone can agree on is that Driscoll had quite a profitable business going. Deputies say he made $4,000 to $6,000 a month by scouring the foothills and stealing from ranchers and land owners.
"He doesn't have a job, or I correct that, he does have a job: stealing metal and scrapping it," said Madera County Sheriff's spokeswoman Erica Stuart.
One victim says Driscoll got away with nearly $22,000 in everything from stolen radiators, to metal, heavy equipment and tools.
"He'll either cut a chain, locked gate, or cut a hole in the fence; whatever it takes. He's just a brave character," William Espe told Action News over the phone.
Deputies say Driscoll's days of ripping off others came to an end Saturday night when he was involved in a burglary. His arrest led Madera County deputies to three separate locations where they say he hoarded stolen materials. But that isn't all that he kept. He also saved receipts from recycling stolen merchandise. In the same box was a Crown Royal bag of meth.
Detectives say Driscoll also had $3,000 in cash, which was recovered. In addition, Madera County deputies say this arrest also wraps up 10 other grand-theft cases they have been working on.