Police announce multiple arrests after rash of copper wire thefts

Two cyclists "prowling around" businesses near Glanford and Vanalman avenues were spotted by Regional Crime Unit officers Feb. 18.

Three men have been arrested in Saanich as part of a crackdown on copper wire thefts.

Two cyclists “prowling around” businesses in the area of Glanford and Vanalman avenues were spotted by Regional Crime Unit officers early in the morning on Feb. 18.

The cyclists were stopped on Harriet Road, pulling a trailer with a 15-metre section of industrial wire. The 150 pounds of wire was seized pending an investigation, and the men were allowed to proceed.

Follow-up investigation determined the wire was stolen from an electrical contracting company in the 4200-block of Glanford Ave.

On Feb. 24, the two Saanich men – a 47 year-old and 41-year-old – were arrested and charged with theft under $5,000.

Two weeks earlier, RCU members were watching a man during the evening as he entered a business in the 3300-block of Tennyson Ave.

Officers observed the suspect spend nearly 45 minutes trying to force open a padlock to gain access to a fenced area where equipment and materials – including copper wire – were stored. This business has been the target of multiple overnight break-ins, police said.

“The suspect had successfully defeated the lock and was attempting to make entry in the yard when he was interrupted by the arrival of a fuel delivery driver,” Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said. The man fled on a bike.

He was followed and arrested on Burnside Road near Jutland Road.

A 44-year-old Victoria man faces charges of break and enter with intent to commit, and possession of break-in instruments.

“In an effort to identify those responsible for the recent thefts of copper wire around the Capital Region and to curtail these thefts, Regional Crime Unit officers have been monitoring a number of (residences) frequented by persons well known to police,” Jantzen said.

Earlier this year, B.C. Hydro reported an estimated $100,000 worth of buried copper wire was missing from Greater Victoria.

kslavin@saanichnews.com