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Copper Thieves Target Debs Park

The thieves were scared off, but one resident fears they may return for the loot.

Montecito Heights resident Tom Marble is concerned that opportunistic thieves are targeting Debs Park for its copper wire.

At aproximatley 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, Marble said he encountered a pair of would-be copper thieves attempting to strip a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) utility box about 100 yards Debs Park Lake.

"The DWP box is adjacent to our property, so I shined a flashlight at them through the fence after hearing shovels and other tool-work going on in the darkness," Marble said.

About an hour later, Marble investigated the scene with fellow Montecito Heights resident Roy Payan and found that some components of the box had been tampered with.

"The major wire is still in place waiting to be rolled up and carried away," Marble said. "Unless action is taken, I am certain the  thieves will compete the job in the coming nights.   Perhaps someone--the DWP?--should take the wire themselves before the thieves help themselves to it?"

Marble said that attempted copper thefts are not new at Debs Park. In October, Payan, a member of the Community Emergency Response Team, found tools and a large spool of wire abandoned in the park by three men who were scared off by CERT Team members.

Copper is often stolen by thieves who sell it to scrap yards for a quick profit.

Cerro Gordo December 06, 2012 at 02:41 AM
A couple of weeks ago some thieves stole copper from the anodizing plant where my brother works in El Sereno not far from Debs Park. Wonder if it was the same guys...
The MOG December 06, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Whoa! This is a coincidence. I was taking an off the beaten track- trail I use to hike as a kid, so I could get a shot of the freeway, above the school. I came upon a strange scene. A small wicker basket, with rusted bars in it. Not far away, someome built an encampment. I took photos and am uploading now.
South Pasadena Sheepdog December 06, 2012 at 08:51 AM
The picture of the wicker basket appears to be stolen copper buss bars and circuit breaker inner copper parts. The thieves-looters-vandals' are stealing our electrical system blind. Too bad these fools can not electrocute themselves when stealing the thousands of taxpayer and private property wiring parts. Not to mention the environmental damage that occurs from the burning of insulation from the wire so they get a better price from the scrap metal dealers who know and abet the theft of the wire, bronze grave markers, fire hydrants and best of all, manhole covers marked with DWP, SCE, LACOFCD, AT&T and more. Just wait until you drive down a dark street and your car is damaged by it falling into a manhole missing its cover or a child falls into a live electrical vault or sewer. California has now fallen into 3rd world status while the mayor runs off to Brazil and Columbia to look into some bs program instead of getting tough on these criminals. Is it amazing that the Northridge murders were committed by an early release of a low level offender thanks to Gov Moonbeam and the prison realignment program. Keep at it Mr. Mayor and Gov. However many thanks to the CERT members and The MOG for posting this theft to the Patch.
Culturevator December 06, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Dear LAPD, Shoot on site. No questions,no taxpayer dollars to jail,prosecute,and then eventually release.
Maggie Thatcher December 06, 2012 at 03:29 PM
....if NELA cops spent less time hiding around corners, waiting opportunistic, for stopsign offenders and spent more time pursuing real criminals.....oh hold on, less cash in the latter..... carry on Los Angles.
Riley December 06, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Why didn't he call 911 for a theft in progress and have the cops arrest them?
Xato December 06, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Mr sheepdog has the answer, Go after the people that are abetting the crime! If nobody wants the stolen copper they will stop stealing!
Bob Bailey December 06, 2012 at 11:27 PM
The black and white cars do not bother stop signs to often or they would writing the biker's up. Now did they get you for rolling stop?
The MOG December 10, 2012 at 01:25 AM
WARNING DANGER I did a follow up on this illegal encampment apparently this fellow has access to PATCH. As he has taken increased pains at concealment. He removed the wicker basket, and replaced it with a sign that says : CLOSED MEN WORKING. Naturally I ignored this diversion and moved forward. He has also extended the wooden fence in front. As I moved past, a big, beared man came barrelling out of what appears to be an underground bunker. I ran quickly up the embankment to get a better view of the camp. The angry man was yelling, "Go away! Go away!" I noticed he was struggling to get something out of a big white bag. When he looked down into it, I snapped some pictures. I had higher ground, and was fairly confident he could not easily advance on my position. Besides, he seemed highly agitated, and preoccuppied with the bag. He kept yelling, "Get out!" I said,"What?" He yelled,"Go away!" So, I turned and left. The film machine at the Walgreens is down. Should have the film back by then.
The MOG December 10, 2012 at 01:30 AM
OOPS! Forgot to mention I UpLoaded SAT IMAGE of the aaprx camp location. Sorry about that!
The MOG December 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I posted pictures of the suspcious man, who I ran into at the camp yesterday... I have already alerted a member of the Debbs Park Advisory Board... Let's see what happens. Meanwhile, PLEASE stay away from this area, until the camp is cleared out. The man is very aggitated... We have no idea what is concealed under that tarp. Lots of times, Sex Offenders, who are in violation of thier parole requirements, will seek out a place like this to hide. They can not help thier compulsion, so they burrow in the ground, somwhere. Many times, hard narcotics are involved... from my experiance, a loner who has taken the pains and lengths at concealment, such as this individual has, is up to no good... this is NOT the typical homeless camp. This is something different. IMHO, it poses a clear and present danger to the public. Especially to the children at nearby Bushnell Way. I suggest women, or children NOT be used to clear this site. As, I consider this man dangerous!
carol van beek December 11, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Mog, you don't say at what point you notified LAPD of this theft in progress. Have they arrested this guy? Have they had his camp demolished? What did they find in it?
The MOG December 11, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Sorry, I messaged SLO Allen. He's on Facebook. This dude is up to no good. I snuck out there after dark last night with electrical tape, & mini flash lights. I didn't want to approach the front, because I think he's got that covered. However he seemed suprised that there was a continuing trail above his position. Which leads me to think he doesn't get up that far, and only concentrates near the school. So, I approached from on westernly direction, along the arroyo seco. As I near, 2 flash lights approached in the darkness. I leap the fence and ran along the tree line to Via Marisol, and taped a big lite on the hillside. I ran through Hermon, doubled back and illuminated the side trail there. Just in case I was being followed. This morning I took the same route an discovered a large tented, concealed encampment along the bottem of the hillside there. I did have my camera
The MOG December 11, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I was just thinking, could this by any chance be related to the recent Cute As A Button Geo-cash Mystery? If one stands at the Freeway Side (Why is it legal for it to remain?) it is easy to imagine someone fixing the hillside from that position. Also, if you notice in the picture of the wicker basket, the rusted bars are facing the school yard. That man, with binoculars, could easily be casing the school. It certainly is not out of the realm of possibilty.
The MOG December 11, 2012 at 07:33 AM
These are the apprx co-ordinates for the camp site Lat: 34* 06' N, Lon: 118* 11' 25" W
ELGATONEGRO December 11, 2012 at 07:56 AM
PLEASE KEEP US POSTED AS TO ANY INFO. OR RESPOSNE MR.ALLEN MIGHT HAVE THIS SEEMS LIKE A PERV IN PERFECT VIEW OF THE CHILDRENS PLAY AREA!!! I HOPE THERE IS A HASTEY RESPONSE TO THIS, AND WE DONT GET ONE OF THOSE WE HAVE TO WAIT TILL SOMEN HAPPENS RESPONSES.
ELGATONEGRO December 11, 2012 at 07:58 AM
BECAREFULL ON YOUR COVERT OPERATIONS SENOR! NEVER KNOW WHAT HE MIGHT HAVE IN THE WHITE BAG. AND IF HE` ALREADY PISSED LET OUR LOCAL "AUTHORITYS' DEAL WITH IT ACCORDINGLY THATS WHAT THEIR PAID FOR. TO PROTECT AND SERVE!!!
The MOG December 11, 2012 at 09:14 AM
No worries, ELGATONEGRO. My Guardian Angel is by my side... to absent from the body, as the scriptures teach, is to be present with The LORD. I have UpLoaded New Topographical Imagery with directions toward camp. Also, here is a link to an Ariel Photo from TerraServer. It shows the trails to the camp more clearly than the SAT. http://www.terraserver.com?tid=21&cx=390234&cy=3774242&proj=32611&mpp=0.25&pic=img&prov=dg&stac=e9b8cbf259ba1b4c81ad936e5b311c8d It's a very long link, so I may have got it wrong. Just get on Terraserver.com or USGS.gov SLO Allen, of NE DIV emailed at 6:48PM that this is Hollenbeck DIV Will follow up tomorrow.
The MOG December 11, 2012 at 11:58 PM
SLO for ADAM3 Hermon Region has been notified, Martha Benedict is doing an excellent job of getting the ball rolling, towards the destruction of this camp. The school principle has been notified, and I sent a message to the Park Rangers. This is all we can do, as private citizens in this matter.
Tom Marble December 12, 2012 at 07:12 PM
As a follow up to the article on the copper thieves, a couple of guys who said they were DWP came over and my wife led them to the site. They said they would cut off the power because it was dangerous to have live wires exposed like that. When my wife suggested it might be a good idea to take out the wire themselves at that point before the thieves did, they said they didn't want the wire, so it wasn't with the time or expense to pull it out themselves. And within a couple of days, the thieves came back and now the wire is gone. Not worth the expense? Isn't the DWP funded by taxpayer money even beyond the cost for water and power? It is apathy? Or are they working in cahoots with these guys?
ELGATONEGRO December 15, 2012 at 05:13 AM
THAT SUX BIG TIME!!! UNFORTUNETLY THE ONLY THING DWP CARES BOUT JUST LIKE THE LAPD IS COLLECTING THEIR SALARIES AT THE END OF THE MONTH!!! ITS NOW DEC. 14 2012, I KNOW THIS WAS INICIALLY A THEFT REPORT BUT IM SERIOUSLY INTERESTED IN WHAT AUTHORITYS HAVE DONE TO DISMANTLE THAT ILLEGAL CAMP NEXT TO THE SCHOOL??? UNFORTUNETLY THEIR ATTITUDES ARE USUALLY WELL HE DOESNT POSE AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO ANYONE, SO WE`LL JUST HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE!!! MAYBE THE COMMUNITY NEEDS TO START TAKING MORE ACTION FOR THEM SELVES, BUILD UP LIL MILITIAS EVERY WHERE!!!! WHO BETTER TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS OF OUR COMMUNITIES THAN HE CITIZENS THEMSELVES!!! I DISLIKE THE IDEA OF SOME SNOBB NOSE PIG FROM THE VALLEY OR SOME OTHER SUB-URBAN AREA WITH A PRE-CONCIEVED MISCONCEPTION OF THE PEOPLE OF MY COMMUNITY POLICING IT!!!!

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