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Police arrest alleged copper thief, warn of more

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Despite a recent arrest, Rocklin police believe thieves are targeting copper where they can get it, including air conditioning units on the sides of businesses. Rocklin Police arrested a man suspected of trying to steal a large roll of copper tubing at Sierra Pine Dominguez Road May 27. Officers were called after a passerby noticed the alleged thief cutting the roll into movable sections to transport. When police arrived, he took off and they set up a dragnet. “We stayed in the neighborhood to wait for him to come out of the bushes,” Rocklin Police Lt. Terry Roide said. “We saw him working on his car and arrested him.” The man was later identified as William Fred Ellsworth II, 27 from Antelope. He was charged with attempted burglary and vandalism for cutting up the $3,000 roll of copper tubing used for electrical contractors. “He cut the wire up, so he destroyed it for what they really needed it for,” Roide said. Rocklin businesses and Sacramento businesses have seen a rash of thieves targeting the copper inside air conditioning units located on the outside of buildings. Detectives don’t believe Ellsworth is responsible for the air conditioning vandalism. Over the last month, six units were damaged in the 6500 block of Lonetree Boulevard, including a tire shop on Pacific Street. One business lost four units causing $6,000 in damage. “The suspects are most likely stealing the coils for the value of the copper,” Roide said. Copper has been very profitable for thieves as prices for precious metals are always high, Roide said. All the incidents were overnight or early morning not during business hours.