PI’s make arrest in copper wire case

A month-long investigation today ended in the apprehension of suspects in a case where the value of stolen copper wire could hit $100,000.

Four teams of investigators were deployed this morning to apprehend identified individuals and interview several potential witnesses. Jaime Gutierrez of Orosi was arrested on suspicion of burglary, embezzlement, grand theft and conspiracy.

Gutierrez is suspected of using his employment with A-1 Electric of Visalia to sell the copper wire to a licensed recycler in Fresno. Copper wire was stolen from A-1 Electric, and other sources, and sold to the recycling company, which met all of the legal requirements of recyclers in collecting identification as a requirement of the sale, noted Rocky Pipkin of Pipkin Detective Agency, which handled the investigation.

The case is unique in that the suspect worked within the law to sell the stolen copper wire, and allegedly sold stolen property for other suspects, Pipkin added.

“The recyclers cooperated completely and provided evidence to make the case,” Pipkin noted. “We spent several weeks on the investigation building our case against the suspects, and it all came together because of the recycler’s cooperation.”

The case will now be turned over to Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and to the Visalia Police Department. The suspects face charges that could be filed as felonies by prosecutors.

“This appears to be another case where an employee is given too much authority and was ordering more supplies than necessary and then stealing the remainder,” Pipkin added. “It is basic, but so important, that business owners have tighter fiscal controls and oversight.”

For information, contact Rocky Pipkin of Pipkin Detective Agency, 559-622-8889 or 559-799-4406.

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