The past months have been busy in regards to agricultural theft. Metal prices have increased; therefore, we have seen an increase in metal thefts throughout the county. In the month of December, at least two pumps were targeted for copper wire in the Red Top area, near Highway 152 and Road 4. A suspect was identified and over 700 feet of pump wire was returned to the victim. That suspect is currently in custody and is facing multiple charges from cases in both Madera and Merced County. Several other cases involving the theft of metals have been reported. These cases are under investigation, and at least one suspect has been identified. I will post more information at a later time.
I know that most of you are not running your pumps currently due to the wet weather; however, I would recommend that you check your pumps regularly for damage. It is common for the sheriff’s office to get multiple reports of damaged pumps in the spring. By that time, any physical evidence is gone and the wire has been recycled. It makes it much easier to investigate these thefts if the report is filed in a timely manner. If you locate a damaged pump, be cautious to look for tire and shoe tracks at the scene. These tracks can be very important. Make sure you request a Deputy respond to the scene if there is physical evidence. This way, the Deputy can photograph the tracks and any other physical evidence.
As always, call or email me with any questions or concerns.
Detective Ian Weaver
Madera County Sheriff’s Department
Ag Crimes Unit