Transient arrested for copper wire theft at Chandler park

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Michael Laurence Clay By Jennifer Thomas Michael Laurence Clay By Jennifer Thomas

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Police officers arrested a 33-year-old transient trying to steal copper wire from a Chandler park early Wednesday morning.

Copper wire was stolen from city lights at Espee Park near Knox Road and Arizona Avenue on Tuesday, according to Detective David Ramer with the Chandler Police Department.

Ramer said an officer patrolling the park at approximately 2:30 a.m. Wednesday spotted a transient with tools used to steal copper wire. The man was identified as Michael Laurence Clay.

Further investigation revealed Clay was preparing to steal copper wire from a light at the park.

Clay was arrested and admitted to the prior theft. He said he obtained the idea after reading about copper wire thefts in a newspaper.

Clay was booked into the Maricopa County Jail. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated criminal damage and one count of trafficking in stolen property.