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42-year-old man arrested, charged with TPCO copper theft

Posted at 6:50 AM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 23:41:46-05

A 42-year-old man was booked into the San Patricio County Jail this morning in connection with copper theft from TPCO Industries earlier this week.

Ricardo Salinas was charged with the recent theft, according to the Facebook page of San Patricio County Sheriff Oscar Rivera.

The San Patricio County sheriff's department received a tip on somebody selling more than 2.000 pounds of copper wire at salvage yards in the Corpus Christi area.

“Sure enough, we caught an individual selling large amounts of copper, brand new looking copper and thick. So we started trying to track it down where it came from, and we learned that it came from TPCO, a big company outside of Gregory,” Rivera said earlier this week.

The San Patricio Sheriff's Department seized 6,000 pounds of copper, worth about $93,000.

“Right now we are looking at a suspect, that we have already interviewed, and he is going to be facing three felony criminal charges and can end up with as much as 28 years in prison over this offense,” said Rivera.

Copper theft is costing U.S. businesses billions of dollars a year. Thieves are looking to make a quick buck by hitting electrical substations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads, water wells, construction sites and vacant homes.

“It is a very expensive luxury item to be sold. A lot of these people go on top of telephone poles and cut these wires down, which is a very dangerous operation. In this particular case, it was taken from spools from the construction site.” said Rivera.

Sheriff Rivera says that Salinas worked for TEDA TPCO America.