Santa Ana police released images this week of a copper thief wanted for stripping the recyclable metal out of buildings in least four Orange County cities-- including Fountain Valley-- in the hope that someone would recognize him.
Surveillance video from July 13 shows the culprit stealing $3,700-$4,000 worth of copper from air conditioning units on the roof of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County at 2101 N. Tustin Ave. about 2:45 p.m., Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
The thief, a white man in his 40s or 50s with a white beard, wore a yellow vest to look like a maintenance worker and used a ladder in his pickup truck to climb onto a ladder leading to the roof, Bertagna said.
Legal Aid employees were unaware of the theft until sometime later in July when they looking for someone to work on the system, he said.
Police also are trying to find a woman shown on video taking photos of the thief, Bertagna said. The thief almost hit her with copper pipes he was tossing off the roof, he said.
Similar crimes were reported recently in Fountain Valley, Cypress and Orange, Bertagna said.
"We thought it might be an isolated incident, but then we started seeing the same guy with the same truck in different cities," Bertagna said.
The thief was driving a newer model blue-gray Ford F150 quad cab, with paper plates from the McCoy Mills Ford dealership in Fullerton, Bertagna said.
Anyone with more information was asked to call Orange County Crime Stoppers, which accepts anonymous tips, at (855) TIP-OCCS.—City News Service.