Husband, wife arrested in copper theft

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Mark and Anna Holroyd By Catherine Holland Mark and Anna Holroyd By Catherine Holland

GILBERT – A Gilbert couple are facing charges after allegedly stealing a coil of heavy-gauge copper wire.

Police received a call regarding two suspicious people in the area of Ray Road and Loop 202 at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered a coil of copper wire had been taken.

A short time later, police arrested Mark C. Holroyd, 54, and his wife, Anna Holroyd, 32. The couple live about 1/8 of a mile from the scene.

Officers said the Holroyds left footprints form the light pole where the wire had been up the embankment and to their car, which was parked in the dirt between the sidewalk and the freeway fence.

The copper the couple allegedly stole is worth about $800.

They both were booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on charges of aggravated criminal damage, which is a felony, and theft, which is a misdemeanor.

Copper theft has been on the rise in recent years, and not just here in Arizona.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, copper theft has grown into a $1 billion per year problem.

Copper is used in a variety of everyday products, everything from cell phones to household plumbing. Because there’s generally a market for it and prices have been relatively high, in the $4/lb. range, copper theft has increased as people find themselves in need of cash.

“The only thing keeping it from being an epidemic is that scrap yards are now scrutinizing the material. But theft is still rampant,” Bryan Jacobs, executive director of the Coalition Against Copper Theft, a Washington-based advocacy organization, told The New York Times earlier this year.

Arizona law (ARS 44-1642) requires scrap metal dealers to keep a log of transactions of more than $25. That log is supposed to contain a photograph and description of the scrap metal involved, as well as the seller's description, signature, a photo, a fingerprint and a copy of his or her current driver license or ID. In addition, payment for the scrap metal has to be mailed to the seller at a physical address.

The law also says that scrap metal sellers cannot skirt the log requirements by breaking a load of scrap metal into a group of smaller transactions.