Copper theft suspect caught in the act twice

FRESNO, Calif.

33-year-old Jason Moore is being held in the Madera County Jail. Madera police say he was busted in the middle of trying to pull copper wire from several neighborhood street lights.

Street lights are back up and running after the copper wires that power them were cut.

Investigators say Jason Moore is a seasoned copper crook, who was busted thanks to Mario Gonzalez.

"Just take time to notice what's going on," Gonzalez said. He noticed the light near his house was out, and the electrical box had been left open.

"The wires were cut," Gonzalez said. "It looked like they were getting everything ready to pull out of there."

Gonzalez wasted no time, and called police. Madera police say this is the second time officers busted Moore in the act. "Mr. Moore did have the tools on him to do that, in his vehicle," Detective Brent Cederquist. "He had gloves, additional wire fragments in his vehicle."

Madera police say on November 8th, just four miles away, Moore was caught stealing copper wire from other light poles. People living there said a neighbor spotted a suspicious car parked near these empty properties, so they too called police. And Moore was arrested.

"It comes and goes," Cederquist said. "It's starting to surface again."

Gonzalez says he's glad he reported what he thought was suspicious, especially to help bust a copper heist.

"There's kids, there's seniors that live here," he said. "It's just a possibility that someone might be taken advantage of. That's not allowable."

Detectives say the city is spending thousands of dollars to repair damaged light poles. Boxes are now being sealed off to prevent future theft.

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