Two men are in jail, charged with theft and trespassing, after they were allegedly caught stealing copper wire from the construction area of Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno on Friday.
Charles Stanphill, 29, and Jerry Franco, 48, allegedly were trying to steal copper wire from the Bankers Ballroom, 1060 Fulton Mall, just before 10 p.m. Bicycle officers responded to the area and arrested them.
Fresno police said the two men have “extensive criminal histories.”
The Southwest Policing District is expected to patrol the Fulton Mall construction area as well as the Chinatown area as improvements to the areas continue, the police said.
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Copper wire thefts used to be more troublesome in the city. In 2013, then-Fresno City Council member Lee Brand pushed to fix the problem of copper wire theft that were leading to darkened streets in northeast Fresno. The solution then was to place a concrete encasing on streetlight maintenance boxes.
The project was a two-step process. First, the city filled thousands of ground-level maintenance boxes for working streetlights with concrete at an estimate cost of less than $500,000. Step two involved going to 5,000 or so city streetlights already darkened by thieves to fix what was wrong and then pour the concrete.