In what police are calling one of the largest copper thefts in recent memory, a couple is accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of the precious metal from electric and light fixtures along Chandler’s Paseo Trail and the Heritage Trail in Gilbert and selling it for scrap to supper their methamphetamine habit.
Kirk Wise, 45, and his girlfriend, Sanna Silva, 38, were arrested on suspicion of theft, criminal damage and trafficking in stolen property on Monday after police observed them stealing copper from the Paseo Trail, according to Chandler police. Many of the thefts were near Germann Road to the Gilbert town limits.
The arrests follow a multi-agency investigation concluded in connection to the yearlong crime spree.
Since January 2010, Wise and Silva are suspected of stealing $25,000 worth of copper along the Paseo Trail and $95,000 worth of copper overall along the trail that becomes the Heritage Trail in Gilbert along the Consolidated Canal. In May 2011, Mesa and Tempe police began helping Chandler and Gilbert search for those responsible.
Police said the scrapyard the copper was sold to will not face any charges or fines. Depending on the type of copper, it can bring anywhere from $1.75 to $2.50 per pound, according to information from Top Price Recycling in Chandler.
If anyone has any information about these thefts, they can call Chandler police at (480) 782-4130.