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Suspected copper-theft ring busted in Pomona

June 14, 2012 | 12:27 pm

Inland Empire law enforcement agencies have arrested six people suspected of stealing thousands of pounds of copper wire.

The case began about 3:30 a.m. Monday when a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy noticed a suspicious man near a vacant building at 13000 Peyton Drive in Chino Hills, according to authorities. The man allegedly gave police a false name.

Deputies and Ontario police officers searched the building, which once housed a Great Indoor store. There they found evidence of theft of copper wiring.

In a car, they found burglary tools, and searching the area outside the store, they found a woman hiding in the bushes. The woman, Patricia Lua, 27, and a man identified as Jonathan Kirkman, 41, both of Pomona, were arrested, according to a police report.

During the investigation, deputies said, they discovered evidence leading them to believe a copper-theft ring was being run out of a Pomona house.

Later that day, deputies went to the house, at 228 Wilart Place, and knocked. One man burst out a window and led deputies on a mile-long foot chase before he was caught and arrested.

Two other people tried to run out the back of the residence and were detained. Another woman was arrested inside the house, deputies said.

A search by a police dog yielded several thousand pounds of copper wiring, allegedly stolen tools, as well as narcotics. Meanwhile, a Pomona police officer arrived with a business owner who’d had construction tools stolen, which were found at the house.

In addition to Kirkman and Lua, the others arrested are Shawn Pickrell, 33, and Daniel Melendez, 32, both of Pomona; Linda Jurado, 34, of Montclair, and Maria Notarangeli, 46, of Claremont. They face charges including burglary and possession of stolen property.

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 -- Sam Quinones

twitter.com/samquinones7

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