Police: Known gang member arrested on suspicion of stealing copper wire

A 25-year-old Merced man was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of possessing stolen copper wire, the Merced Police Department reported.

Phillip H. Campos was arrested around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at his residence in the 1000 block of Home Avenue in Merced. He was still in custody Thursday at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility on $10,000 bail, according to Merced County booking records.

Officer Joseph Perez found an unspecified amount of utility copper wire inside Campos’ home, Merced police said in a news release.

Investigators did not say from where they believe the wire was stolen.

Campos told police he found the wire on the side of a road and took it home.

Police said they also found an unspecified amount of suspected methamphetamine. Investigators described Campos as a known gang member.

The Merced Public Works Department has reported 81 incidents of utility wires cut or stolen since April, police said.

“This is a loss to the taxpayers in labor, material and safety,” Capt. Tom Trindad said in the prepared statement. “The police department as well as public works is asking for the community’s help in stopping these thefts. If you see suspicious activity around light poles, please call the Police Department.”