Copper theft strikes local high school, hits close to campus


In February, a Stockton area high school fell victim to high-climbing thieves.

Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, located less than a mile from Delta College campus, experienced back-to-back copper thefts on their campus.

“We’ve been hit four times this school year,” said Stagg Principal Andre Phillips.
Thieves nabbed more than 400 feet of copper wiring from one of the buildings, resulting in a loss of power.

Stockton Unified School District’s electricians responded quickly soon after the discovery was made.

The thieves left several buildings without power for the majority of the day the incident occurred. Staff acted swiftly and moved the affected classes to another part of the campus.

“We have plenty of open rooms so it wasn’t difficult to relocate the students. It’s just difficult for the teachers who usually keep a class set of text books in their rooms and all of their supplies,” said Rob Torres, a Stagg teacher.

Copper theft has been a frequent occurrence in Stockton, with numerous businesses and schools hit over the last several years.

Delta College has had its fair share of theft happen on several campus locations.

Delta College Officer Jim Bock described the thefts which occurred while the new Science and Math Building was under construction.

Thieves scaled fences and took what they could from the construction site, including copper.

“We made sure we patrolled the construction site and instructed the crews to keep their materials locked up,” he said.

Fortunately, under the watchful eyes of campus police, further thefts from that location were thwarted.

The same can’t be said about Delta College’s Manteca Farm location.

Recent copper theft on the Manteca Farm has left one irrigation pump unable to function.

To combat these thefts, recycling centers across the city tightened their surveillance and stand firm on California State laws when it comes to the purchase of scrap metals.

Freddie Espino, Manager of Stockton Recycling Inc., takes a tough approach to potentially stolen recyclables.
“California Law states that we must obtain a copy of a valid California Identification card before we can make an exchange of recyclables for money,” he said.

In a typical month, Espino comes into contact with possibly stolen items between five to10 times.
Espino uses, an online service where businesses can post and track down stolen materials.

Along with the help of the local police, he can run his business with the assurance that if he does have potentially stolen items on hand, he can make the necessary calls to get those items returned or have a police report filed, he said.