SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Three people were arrested at a recycling center in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood after buying stolen copper and other metals from undercover police officers early Saturday morning, police said Monday.

The sting took place around 6 a.m. Saturday at a recycling center near the intersection of 20th and Indiana streets.

PG&E has documented more than 35 thefts of underground vault utility copper in the past six months, while the city’s Department of Public Works has reported numerous stolen manhole covers and backflow preventers, according to police.

Samples and photos of all of those stolen items were given to junk dealers and metal recyclers in the area to detect stolen property, police said.

The Police Department also started a task force based in its Bayview Station to combat the dealers from buying the stolen materials and contributing to the numerous thefts in the area.

On Saturday, undercover officers from the task force brought items to the recycling center that were clearly marked as the property of either PG&E or DPW, but it was still purchased by the center’s employees.

The three employees, whose names were not immediately available, were arrested and booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property, permit violations, as well as municipal and business code violations, according to police.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. sith says:

    PG&E buildings are full of unused copper wire because they are too lazy to remove it when new wire is laid in it’s place.

  2. bla bla says:

    If its abandoned copper, then its not really stealing it because the previous owners were to lazy or did not even noticed it. Police should be spending their time (our $) on more serious issues. What if that homeless makes $3oo on stolen copper, it does not even compare to the wasted $ the city throws away on issues that are not even important

  3. Gene says:

    If you 2 bozos would actually go back and red the entire story you would realize that the police arrested employees at a RECYCLING CENTER in a sting operation for purchasing metals from undercover officers. They arrested these people because if there is no place to sell stolen metals then that should stop the thieves from stealing these metals. Get it? As for you saying that there are more serious issues, I’ll bet you won’t be saying that after you break both legs from falling through a hole in the street where there used to be a manhole cover.

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