Business owner at a Southwest Fresno sports complex frustrated by recent copper wire theft

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Most of the power has been restored to the Fresno Regional Sports Complex in Southwest Fresno after thieves recently broke into utility boxes and stole copper wiring.

"They know that's an alarm wire-- they didn't cut it. I pulled up one day and saw the alarm wire hanging out and said wow, these guys know what they're doing," said Tom Sharp, Maximum Paintball Owner.

Sharp is frustrated and fed up-- copper wire thieves are constantly breaking into his paint ball facility and vandalizing his property.

"It does get to be discouraging. What people don't realize about this type of crime and what it does to business. That money could be going to employees, it could be going to expanding the project and making room for more employees."

But instead, according to Sharp, it's a never ending cycle of dipping into his own pocket to pay for damage left behind by crooks. He owns Maximum Paint Ball-- a paint ball park located inside the Fresno Regional Sports Complex in Southwest Fresno.

Sharp estimates he has spent $20,000 over the last few years because of break ins.

"I pretty much get my coffee in the morning and drive out here and wonder what am I going to find out today. It's generally a hole in the fence, something missing, you cannot leave anything out here now."

Most recently the costly break-in happened with over a $100,000 worth of damage. Thieves broke into a massive utility box and stole copper wiring,
killing power to not only Sharp's facility, but to the entire park.

"This doesn't look damaged now, but if you saw it yesterday you'd be surprised. I'm a little surprised the city got it so well cleaned up. They did a good job in one day of getting some of the power back on in the park and getting this cleaned up."

The city of Fresno has since restored power to most of the park and placed massive concrete blocks on and around manholes and utility boxes to try to deter future attacks.

"For the few hundred dollars they get it costs the city several thousand of dollars to get it repaired and up and running again," said Tony Hernandez, Fresno Parks Manager.

Sharp said all these break-in's have not stopped him from remaining open. It has just becoming more and more of a hassle, especially this time of the year which is considered his busy time.
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