VALLEJO (CBS 5) -– Copper theft is nothing new in the Bay Area. But thieves have been particularly busy in Vallejo, where several schools were stripped of the valuable metal in recent weeks.

The problem has become so bad, it may impact the return to school for some students.

At Franklin Middle School, Vallejo Assistant Superintendent Mel Jordan believes three to five thieves sliced through heavy duty bolts and metal brackets to get to copper wire. He said the wire was live and the thieves knew how to take it despite the electrocution risk.

Jordan said there has been a rash of copper thefts at schools, with at least 10 occurring in the month of July and at least 14 in recent months. Franklin Middle School has been hit by thieves four times.

“They’re professionals. They know what they’re doing. They’re technicians,” said Jordan. “They know how to cut live wire and they know how to pull it.”

Jordan showed CBS5 a 300-foot long pipe filled with copper wire flowing with at least 1,500 volts, a dangerous amount of electricity that doesn’t stop these thieves.

“It’s probably about $5,000 just for the wire in this one pipe,” said Jordan.

According to Jordan, the thefts have cost the district more than $100,000.

“No fear. They don’t believe they’re going to be caught,” said Jordan.

Perhaps that’s because they know cuts at the Vallejo police department mean fewer patrols.

“Police are doing what they can do based on having an entire community to deal with, but it’s really going to come down to community watch,” said Jordan.

Officials say the theft problem is so bad, it may threaten the start of the school year.

The school district is asking Vallejo residents to be on the lookout for suspicious activity between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. and to contact police.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (113)
  1. proud_bay_man says:

    The places, recycle, or whatever, who take this stuff and give a fat cash reward should be just a guilty.
    Bookem Danno.

    1. mcnertny says:

      it always is,,i suggested it years ago in miami where it has been common

    2. JustAGuy says:

      What if they were white?

      1. TeaIsForSissies says:

        and Christian, like the nutter in Norway?

      2. Sheila says:

        Wriong, Teals. The nutter in Norway emphatically wrote that he was no Christian. Lies don’t strengthen your argument, they render it moot.

        The Norway shooter cut and pasted information from various authors, all over the spectrum of political beliefs. He plagiarized from the Unibomber, a flaming liberal and Al Gore disciple. He plagiarized from Thomas Jefferson, an American patriot. He plagiarized from Pamela Geller, a conservative blogger. What belief system was he most closely associted with? Those who have studied his 1,500 page manifesto proclaim it to be Nazism;. And Nazis were not Christian.

    3. bigbiz2 says:

      As much as the California Mexican run legislature likes to pass laws concerning business they should make it a law that any building material brought in must have the persons id and if looks suspicious call the police..this is getting rediculous

  2. nonexpat says:

    Recovery Summer II


      Another 5 letter word for fraud…

      1. Richard Lowery says:

        Take a good look at Barry’s economy. Thanks Nancy, Harry and O Blah Blah

  3. BoyKingandhisFirstWookie says:

    Obama’s Hope & Change…

  4. Tom B says:

    If the cops weren’t padding their pensions so much maybe there would be some money left for payroll.

    1. mirted says:

      Probably a factor, eh? Ditto for the other public employees that have “risky” jobs, but “never draw a weapon in 20 years”, or fight a multiple floored, serious fire, etc. The writer’s comment shows Journolist bias.

      I have to wonder if some any of the school districts ever invested in any sort of security system….not many, i’d guess. Willing to bet the cops didn’t show because there were no alarms..much more likely explanation. How many times have we read about school vandalism with break-ins, and no one knows until they open the doors the next day, or on Monday.

  5. v says:

    I love how they add “cuts” part… such BS…Grow a money tree because we sure as heck don’t have any

  6. Greg says:

    If they would police the buyers there would be no problem. So, where did you get this copper? Really, you just had this on your truck. Can i see your Id and by the way stand over here so i can get your picture. Problem solved. If they can’t sell it they won’t steal it. Stupid CA.

    1. Tequilazo says:

      Here in Houstn, everyone must present a photo ID and an electronic thumb print. Stops absolutely no one.

  7. Gary says:

    We can expect more of this.

    People have lost their homes.

    People can’t feed their kids and many have lost them
    to Social Services.

    Unemployment extensions have run out.

    Meanwhile our CONGRESS can’t even agree
    on a debt ceiling and we give HUGE pensions
    to POLICE and FIRE Chiefs and bonuses to
    Corporate Executives.

    This is very WRONG and is a CRIME and I do not
    CONDONE it in ANY way…but I understand.

    1. Steve Hollar says:

      I agree with all you say except one thing that irks me. When people talk about corporate execs getting big bonuses or paychecks. Remember, police and fire are tax supported. Corporations are private companies who are only accountable to their share holders. What they do with their money is their business, and, believe me they are doing what they can to prosper and hopefully hire more people. They are not in business to lose money and go bankrupt.

      1. bill c says:

        It is too bad that people do not see it that way. Corporations are there to make a profit and expand business not give it away to people that do not want to work for a living. The entitlement mentality of this country is staggering.

      2. rjm2238 says:

        I agree. Ever notice also that the people complaining about exec’s making the big bucks never mention, actors, athletes, musicians, authors, artists and the like. I guess they contribute too much to the Democrat party to be singled out for hatred and envy via class warfare. Executives have the welfare of corporations which employ, in some cases tens of thousands of people to be concerned with while the chosen few have little impact on those around them.
        I swear you can see through these Democrats like an open window. It seems like they are engaging in extortion, buy a little protection via your campaign contributions or you’re up next in the hit parade.
        Rich in New Mexico.

      3. BlueBasset says:

        I’d like to point out that many of these “private” corporations took major bailout money from taxpayers. (Car companies, Investment houses, Banks/Mortgage companies just name a few.) These “execs” tanked their companies with billions in losses, and afterwards still collected their multi-million $ “bonuses.” Bonuses for what? Tanking the company? Remember, we even borrowed the money for these bailouts. USA inc. doesn’t have any money. Just my 2 cents.

      4. August says:

        Circuit City execs padded their pockets with $75 million they looted before they went belly-up and left 30,000 unemployed & stock holders broke & property owners in bankruptcy.

      5. Bill Ryan says:

        Your comments are completely lacking of fact! These so-called privately owned businesses who are “only accountable to their shar eholders” didn’t receive “private money” in 2008 when our government (under great pressure from Wall Street and the Fed) passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. These “share holders” fleeced the American tax payer with help from our government! These same clowns are the ones who made untold profits during the housing bubble and when it popped demanded to be saved. You should stick to Fox News sites.

      6. John says:


        I agree. Ever notice also that the people complaining about exec’s making the big bucks never mention, actors, athletes, musicians, authors, artists and the like. ”

        I have no problem with the anyone making a lot of money. In the case of Actors, athletes and the like, they are paid well because they have a particular talent or ability that others do no possess.

        What I DO have a problem with is CEO’s that will lay off 1000’s of workers as the slightest downturn in the business, and will slash benefits and even safety and horrible workplace conditions AND STILL take home multi-million dollar bonuses to the top in the company. THAT is wrong. If you can’t afford to keep workers when times are bad, you shouldn’t be able to afford huge bonuses either.

    2. mcnertny says:

      it isnt a caucasion crime

      1. Big Gun says:

        Let us just say it mcnertny, it is an Hispanic crime, mostly Mexicans, many illegal aliens. California deserves this, but not the children. A people that elect Marxists deserve to suffer for their ignorance.

    3. AmericanMark says:

      Meth and crackheads. Don’t make the economy the excuse for bad behavior.

  8. Tom says:

    Police cuts? They were paying police officers over $100,000 per year.

    How much does a security guard at a school cost?


    1. James T says:

      As a concerned citizen, why don’t you donate your time?

      1. Tom says:

        I’m too busy working! I have a job!

  9. Ralph says:

    Watch out! We can’t say who’s really doing this, just like we can’t say who is doing the flash mobs. Saying it would be be a worse crime by far than these things. We whites ought to be ashamed of ourselves 24/7/365. After all, the copper thieves “solo quieren vivir” andwho are we to take away their livelihood. And the flash mobs ‘r jess bein’ deyselfs an’ we be raciss an’ $3!t. And DHS just proved to us who the real culprits are. I saw it on the video, these evil whites being turned in by the Saintly People of Color. That must be the truth. Did I say that right, Schlomo?

    1. The Folks Who Brought You Antietam and Manassas [Parts I & II] says:

      “We whites ought to be ashamed of ourselves 24/7/365.”

      What “THEY” don’t realize is that “we whites” are coming to the end of our rope – that “THEY” just can’t squeeze any more water out of this rock of ours.

      And that “we whites” aren’t happy about it.





      1. Mikey says:

        I was never a fan of “24/7/365” I mean it sounds good and all but mathmatically speaking it is incorrect. It should be 24/7/52 as there are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year.

        Good post though. I Agree 100%

  10. Localboy says:

    Putting a bounty on copper thieves caught in the act would be a good start.

  11. mimi says:

    I wonder if the mayor of san fran is still bragging that they are a SANCTUARY CITY. Guess you still reap what you sow. DUH. Even if this crime was not done by illegals, the influx of illegals has added enormously to the dire straits of everyone in the area.

  12. Joe Dearn says:

    Oh wow, OK thats kinda crazy when you think about it. Wow.

  13. Augustus says:

    A twist on the Tea Partiers, rather than tea they take copper. Life in America is going to get a lot uglier because of the demands, right or wrong, of others. Soon theives will be breaking into homes to steal food, valuables and life. There will be not be a tea partier or no one to stop them. Ground the jets and let the blood flow.

    1. Mikey says:

      I’m confused by your post. Are you saying that Tea Partiers are the ones stealing copper? Or are you saying that their demands for a smaller, responsible and more accountable government are causing copper thefts?

      Either way I question your sanity…

    2. No Crime in VA says:

      Bring it on. If someone comes into my house looking to steal anything, it would be the last thing they do. Home robberies are rare because one of every three households has at least one gun and those are bad odds. Schools on the other hand are empty during the summer, weekends and nights, kind of like taking candy from a baby. Here is an idea, find one person who is about to lose their house and have them protect a school in exchange for letting them keep their house. Heck, I would sit on a school roof at night for the chance to kill a couple of criminals for beer money.

      1. dave says:

        Wouldn’t that be socialism?

    3. rjm2238 says:

      If anyone breaks into our home, my son and I have all the metal for them that they can stand, lead. If they like we will post a menu on the fence out front where they can chose which caliber or gauge they may prefer to dine on.
      We offer a full service menu and are open 24 hours a day, every day, including holidays.
      Bon Appitit’
      Rich in New Mexico.

      1. glenny says:

        rjm, Absolutely right !
        1 number and 3 words : 12 gauge pump shotgun

      2. Susan says:

        rjm2238. Great post! I, myself, have faith in my trusty .38 revolver!
        Sister Benedicta

      3. Steve in Mobile says:

        my menu is very limited, 9mm S&W or 410 shotgun with buckshot, take your pick!

      4. Steve says:

        We all know you people who boast this do not really have the guts to carry this out in real life. So keep day dreaming guys! LOL

    4. mrunpc says:

      Ha ha! And just WHO do you think the majority of gun owners are in this country, hmmm?

      If my .380 don’t get someone breaking in to my house, then my .40 will. And if THEY don’t do the job, then my AR-15 certainly will.

      Yes. “Let the blood flow” and you’ll quickly see who’s most of it is.

  14. garretc says:

    Have you received the wake-up call yet? Please, please, don’t emigrate to other States. Stay home and deal with your mess.

  15. Mikey says:

    Yet another new name and another spam posting. Comment Reported.

    Give it up Aunt Bee…

    1. Gibbs Bentley says:

      Look everyone it’s power tripping Mikey that’s in charge of the internet and is still unable to discern spam, which implies something is for sale from information.

      Thank god Mikey is able to run his command center from his moms basement and never counters with any real information, facts or a contemplative view.


      1. Mikey says:

        The fact that you have repeatedly mentioned that you only make your posts in order to draw more traffic to your wingnut website is proof enough that you are posting spam.

        You post no actual information at all, only quotes that generally have nothing to do with the conversation.

      2. rjm2238 says:

        What the heII are you talking about? Do you even know yourself?
        Rich in New Mexico.

  16. JHarnes says:

    What nonsense. How many folks are buying these materials in this area. Buying stolen goods is a crime and police should be able to come down hard on these criminals. Then, I am sure, those buying the stolen goods will turn in the real thieves.

  17. AeroJack7 says:

    This kind of crime has occurred in third world nations for as long as one can remember. It is a direct result of long-time liberal/democrat social policies. What we are seeing is the start of a complete breakdown in social order. This decline can be fixed in short order if VOTERS elect true conservatives in office. Our problem is not politicians, but the voters who elect folk that promise them a bunch of “free” stuff that cannot be paid for and make low-life constituents not accountable for their own bad behavior.

    1. HooDatIS? says:

      correction i meant, *burned at the stake* you ugly duck face fool, we dont need no more conservatives who deny us a good life, we need liberal/democratic social policies that allow us to grow and prosper !

      1. David Maxwell says:

        Just say it, you want my money without earning it. From there are only two possibilities; you’re either a beggar or a thief.

    2. Mikey says:

      You really should have just kept it at your original post Hoo. You already tagged yourself as a complete moron. Your second post merely reinforced it….

  18. Miguel says:

    2 quick points: #1 If 600,000 deer hunters in Michigan can hunt deer for the hunting season w/o a single mishap, then once one or two of these “technicians” was shot to death those copper thefts would dramatically go down.

    #2 But mostly it is the White Liberals of my former party who have orchestrated the destruction of the Black, Brown communities by means of destroying those communitiies’ hopes and dreams by means of destroying families, their schools and employment therein, all, in service to keeping these communities on the democrat reservation by buying their votes in blatant appeals to racism and resentment.

    Drug gangs are also the product of these sly, deceptive democrat liberals who care NOT one whit what happens inside the the voting servitude of their political reservations.

    This copper money is no doubt ending up in drug cartels’ hands, at the hands of local druggers in our “permissive” society envisioned by White liberals.

  19. Hazel Burke says:

    Well I certainly hope the Mayor is declaring Vallejo a sanctuary city for copper thieves.

    1. mcnertny says:

      Working for the big phone company,,a zone ite came by with his shopping cart aksing for copper,,I left a piece of fiber cable for him,,he returned the next day complaining there was no copper after he burned off the insulation,,most riki tick

  20. NonResidentPresidentHasRuinedUSA says:

    Vallejo locals celebrating the Obummer Summer of Recovery 2011

  21. Julio Pezuka says:

    This asst. principal doesn’t know much, but I guess that is to be expected. I am not a professional electrician, but I know where I can get OSHA approved electrical tools that will cut a live high voltage wire without killing myself. Another govt. mooch who knows little but is ready to teach our children all the commie propoganda that his little mind stores.

  22. Lars says:

    How about a relay fed off the incoming main power that has a normally closed-held open contact wired as an input to the alarm system? Once the power goes off, the alarm goes off.

    1. Mikey says:

      Good idea. Add a couple of automated 50 cal. gun emplacements and you have a deal!!

  23. Steven says:

    Everything that happens come drictly from the effects of states and government supporting “ILLEGAL ALIENS”….health care, auto insurance, drugs,jobs/quality of work done, over crowed schools, prints everything in 21 languages, down right distruction of property from disrespect, and imported diseases.

    1. bigbiz2 says:

      You are correct sir…Like that guy in Norway said “Im mad as hell and im not going to take it anymore”

  24. oracle2world says:

    There is something called a “power off alarm”. I have one for my home freezer.

  25. AtlasObjectivist says:

    You reap what you…. vote. Welcome to Obama world.

  26. Francisco says:

    I can’t believe that the school district doesn’t have security! …For example some schools have continuous security on site with guard and guard dogs ….especially during the midnight to 6 am shift!! …Heck in some school districts the guards carry guns …especially in ghetto and barrio schools …

  27. One of the few normal Vallejo residents says:

    Thug idiots stealing from schools. Some people are just a waste of space in this world.

  28. Jilara says:

    It would be nice if everyone came up with practical solutions to problems, other than simply finger-pointing and spreading blame. What made our nation great was the ability to work together in the interests of the community. Rather than armchair quarterbacking, maybe it’s time to get off our collective duffs and set up neighborhood watches, go police the recyclers, and -gasp- get to know your neighbors. Annonymity and lack of involvement breeds a thriving environment for crime.

  29. Daniel Morgan says:

    The break down of society and it is starting in San Francisco and California. Why does that not surprise me?

  30. George Johnson says:

    And just why were there “cuts” in the police department? Do they mean to say that they could not find ANYTHING to cut ANYwhere else, that the police and fire are the absolute last resort cuts, made first? BS! It’s the same everywhere just about, police and fire are always the first to get cut, so you go running back to the politicians and say “Oh no! Please don’t cut my fire and police!!” And the politicians get to keep on spending like there’s no tomorrow.

    Really?? They could find NO, I mean ZERO money to cut anywhere else to keep the police??

    1. bigbiz2 says:

      Oh well ..they can’t cut County welfare,section 8 subsidized housing,subsidized cell phones,community food bank,subsidized power bill ?? Of course thay will cut what the winners pay for ..But They can’t cut what the losers get for free.

  31. George Johnson says:

    I’ve seen the comments here about how this is related to liberalism.

    Hmmm…. isn’t this the “cloward/pivin plan” in action?? Isn’t this exactly what it calls for? I’m not positive, but I believe it is.

    Just the fact that liberals would even have a “plan” for the breakdown of America is amazing. I firmly believe that just about ALL of America’s problems can be traced back to liberals. Crime, drugs, you name it and it can be traced back to them.

  32. Hank Warren says:

    Illegals stealing US infrastructure, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our rights:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama, vote for Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

  33. Michael Aschoff says:

    Dogs are cheap …

  34. Eric Holder says:

    “Perhaps that’s because they know cuts at the Vallejo police department mean fewer patrols.”

    Yeah I am sure the thieves factored that into their calculations before they struck.

    Thief1: ” You know district X police dept has had Y dollars more in cuts than Z. There will likely be few patrols there.

    Thief2: Good idea. Lets steal some copper from X.

    Stupid dum*$$ leftwing reporters and their leftwing “news” agencies. Every thing is agenda driven. Promote socialism, big government and big spending in the name of disseminating news.

  35. TACO TICO says:


  36. silentme63 says:

    Can I say this all sounds like government sponsor crime, to create upheaval here in America, Obama his crew of government thugs HATE US DEARLY..

  37. don says:

    You Frisco area losers deserve every thing you get ….. eat it baby !
    Ex Native CA , class of 41 ……..

  38. Larry Mason says:

    Exterminate thieves. End of problem.

  39. Jack says:

    Another one of those jobs that they’re here to take because “Americans won’t”?

    As for copper theft being “nothing new” in the Bay Area, roughly when is CBS5 suggesting it began?

  40. FED UP says:

    I wish these b***ards would get FRIED ON THE SPOT when they presume to steal these electrical wires!

  41. elmer j fudd says:

    AAAA, Give these people a fair shake, They had to remove the old wiring before they install a new and improved system, added outlets for the p-c using kids,. Before long- they will be working the night shift agan and it will be better than new!

  42. MadCharles says:

    They learned from the Ghetto Thief in Chief. Welcome to Obamaville

  43. John says:

    These Obama voters are sure busy.

  44. BL says:

    I wish they would try to steal my ac unit I have it hooked to 120volts and when I hear someone yell that same person will get a chestfull of lead.

  45. malcom says:

    well we only GIVE AWAY 50 billion a year in foreign aid. I guess we don’t need our money here.

  46. Jericho says:

    Stealing deer from the King’s forest, I don’t really have a problem with this. It is the oppressed Saxon’s versus the Norman elites. The haves are the government workers and fascist corporate heads. The have nots are the working man, like these electricians.

    1. Sheila says:

      Jericho, are you for real? Who do you think paid for the school in the first place, and who do you think will pay for the replacement wire? It is the taxpayer! The government has no money which it did not first take from someone else.

      You, apparently, are suckling from the government teat. Otherwise, you would be outraged that your money was stolen. I know I’m outraged, as are the rest of the working people – i.e., the taxpayers.

      1. bossmechanic says:

        Fear not – Jericho will come tumbling down

  47. William Manning says:

    –close the schools

  48. Sheila says:

    Sorry about the typos in the previous post. Sometimes it’s hard to see the little gray words on the screen.

  49. Laughing@Liberals says:

    He he he he, California gets exactly what it deserves. Beautiful state but the F’in liberals F*#ked it up, I hope a EARTHQUAKE hits California and levels it.

    1. mrunpc says:

      Agreed. But waiting for Mother Nature to do the job may take too long. Maybe if enough of us get together with chain saws on the eastern border we can get it done more quickly.

      I have to let my brother know though because he’s managed to live there for 40 years. Even though he’s a clueless “democrat”, he’s still my brother.

      ANTI-Obama/Democrat/Commie/Union stickers, etc.

  50. mrunpc says:

    GOOGLE: “The 45 Stated Communist Goals To Take Over America”, entered into the US Congressional Record in 1963, the same year they killed JFK. That was the beginning of the American Communist Revolution, as I call it and they’ve been advancing their evil agenda ever since.

    Read the list and you’ll quickly see just how much of it has been “quietly” implemented by “democrats”, who are nothing more than COMMUNISTS in disguise

    While Americans have slept, these human excrement have been hard at work dismantling the fabric that once made this nation strong, productive, and united. Can we call the United States of America ANY of those things any longer?

    ANYONE who votes for ANY “democrat” at ANY level of government is voting for his/her own societal execution.

    ANTI-Obama/Democrat/Commie/Union stickers, etc.

  51. allness says:

    There’s no problem here…Doesn’t our President teach us to distribute the wealth? What kind of loop-hole allows a school to have copper wiring anyway? Isn’t that stuff used on corporate jets?

  52. Jackson says:

    I would investigate the electrical contractor who typically does these repairs. These are professional electricians pulling this wire, not tweekers. After they get the contract to replace the copper wire, they might even reinstall the same wire they pulled out and never even have to hit the metal recycler shops. In Scottsdale, AZ we had a rash of hundreds of school bus windshields being smashed every month or so. Finally the vandals were caught and it was the company who was repairing the windshields doing the breaking!

  53. Ellie Light says:

    With th economic collapse brought about by the Bush tax cuts and the Republican falure to comprimise for farness. we can expect more of this. We need Democratic solidarity in 2012. Obamas plan will work only when we get rid of those standing in the way.

    1. Sheila says:

      Ellie Light, Ellie Light. I remember that name. You are a paid DNC troll, someone who sent letters to the editors of many newspapers throughout the country. Your comments mean nothing.

  54. nifty says:

    We had similar issues here in Colorado Springs but the recycling businesses got together with law enforcement and put the criminals away. They were stealing it from traffic light poles and had very official looking trucks. These business owners were very much heroes in the eyes of the community and realized what a sin it was to accept the profit over the welfare of the community.

  55. bossmechanic says:

    I guess all the enviro nuts and pita protestors out in CA don’t know what a gamecamera is. For $100 a pop you can train cameras on the likely copper targets and just catch the perps in the act with video proof for the courts.
    Unlike fancy survailance systems, you can stick gamecameras in multiple locations for next to no cost. Batteries last 3 months or more. Wipe the memory cards once a week and download only after a heist. Kinda like guns… if the perps think you might have them, it’s less likely they will target you. Works for us in Georgia.