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3 men arrested in copper wire theft

By Leila Fujimori

LAST UPDATED: 3:48 p.m. HST, Jun 7, 2011

Police arrested three men who had been walking through a Waianae Coast school campus carrying 400 pounds of allegedly stolen heavy-duty copper wiring.

Police said the 192 feet of copper wiring has a value of about $2,200 to $2,300.

Witnesses saw the three men walking through Maile Elementary School with the copper at 7:10 a.m. Monday, apparently heading to their car, police said.

Police had received a report of a nearby business, Maili Telecom Station, located at 87-380 Kulaaupuni St. that had been broken into and had copper wire ripped out of the building.

Police arrived at the school and arrested a 35-year-old Waianae man and two men with no local address, ages 20 and 27, on suspicion of detaining stolen property and second-degree burglary.

William Alpeter, of NAI Chaney Brooks, said Maili Telecom, owned the vacant building, which is for sale. The thieves stripped the 1-1/2-inch thick cable, with about an inch of it being copper, out of the conduit in the building, he said. The cable was used to power a 2,500-KVA transformer.

Maili Telecom had planned to install an undersea cable from the West Coast to Hawaii to Guam, but the project never went through, Alpeter said.


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