(Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Victor Gutierrez, left, and Mark Jimenez were arrested by Pinal County Sheriff's deputies after they were caught in a hand-dug tunnel that led to the BHP mine in San Manuel
FLORENCE, AZ (CBS5) -
Authorities said two suspects literally went underground to steal thousands of dollars worth of copper wire Saturday.
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office reported Victor Gutierrez, 46, and Mark Jimenez, 34, both of San Manuel, were arrested by deputies after they were caught in a hand-dug tunnel that led to the BHP mine in San Manuel.
A deputy was making his routine security rounds at the closed mine when he came across the tunnel used previously by copper thieves and heard something move inside, according to a sheriff's office spokesman.
After backup deputies arrived, Gutierrez, wearing a headlamp, stuck his head out of the tunnel and was greeted by the barrels of the deputies' guns, the spokesman said.
Gutierrez denied anyone else was in the tunnel, but deputies later found Jimenez inside the tunnel, ordered him out and took him into custody.
Deputies later determined the suspects had damaged and removed more than $10,000 worth of copper, and several 30-foot-long sections of copper wire weighing approximately 500 pounds were recovered, the spokesman said.
Both suspects admitted to stealing copper during the past year and either burning off or stripping the plastic coating on the wire so they could sell it in Tucson, the spokesman said.
BHP reported that it has cost them several hundred thousand dollars to replace and repair the stolen copper from thefts in the past year alone.
Gutierrez and Jimenez were booked on suspicion of trafficking in stolen property, burglary, aggravated criminal damage and possession of burglary tools. Gutierrez was being held on a $20,000 bond and Jimenez on a $2,500 bond.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Thursday, April 17 2014 3:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 19:07:53 GMT
Police have identified the man accused of shooting a Portland police officer and killing a K-9 in southwest Portland. The suspect, Paul Ropp, 20, has not yet been booked in the Multnomah County Jail.More >
Officer Jeff Dorn was shot twice in the legs and his K-9 partner Mick was killed as they pursued a burglary suspect in southwest Portland early Wednesday morning.More >
Saturday, April 12 2014 6:07 AM EDT2014-04-12 10:07:09 GMT
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral. A mother humpback whale and her calf were cruising just offshore when a set rolled in. J.T. Gray of NorthMore >
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral.More >
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:17 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:17:52 GMT
A 57-year-old man was killed when his motorcycle collided with an SUV Wednesday night on a road near Sherwood. The Washington County sheriff's office says Martin Ellis crossed the centerline and hitMore >
A 57-year-old man was killed when his motorcycle collided with an SUV Wednesday night on a road near Sherwood.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-04-17 01:12:17 GMT
Police are searching for the ex-wife of notorious child killer Ward Weaver in connection to a meth dealing investigation. Canby police served a search warrant at the Forest Manor Apartment Complex onMore >
Officers said they have received multiple reports that methamphetamine was being sold by 53-year-old Maria Shaw, also known as Maria Weaver and Maria Stout, in Canby.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:51 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:51:53 GMT
A Portland police officer was wounded and his K-9 partner is missing following a shootout with a suspect in southwest Portland.The officer survived the shooting and he's in "very good spirits" while recoveringMore >
An officer was shot in the legs and his K-9 partner was killed during a confrontation with a burglary suspect in Portland. More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:00:28 GMT
A Mount Tabor reservoir that holds Portland's drinking water has been taken offline out of fear that a group of trespassers urinated in it. Five people were seen at Mount Tabor Park around 1 a.m. Wednesday.More >
A Mount Tabor reservoir that holds Portland's drinking water has been taken offline after a teenager urinated in the reservoir. More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:22 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:22:41 GMT
A dead whale that washed ashore on the Oregon coast was buried at the beach Wednesday. The massive 40-foot gray whale first appeared on the south jetty at Fort Stevens State Park Sunday. Word spread quicklyMore >
A dead whale that washed ashore on the Oregon coast was buried at the beach on Wednesday.More >