SFPD Arrest Suspect in PG&E Copper Wire Theft

San Francisco police have arrested a suspect in a copper wire theft from a PG&E underground power vault on the 1600 block of Folsom Street. Taken into custody January 5 at approximately 5:30 A. M. was Michael David O’Keefe, 55, with no local address.

In this incident, police responded to reports of a break in at the PG&E vault. When police arrived, they saw the suspect running from the location from where he had removed the manhole cover. Officers apprehended O’Keefe, who had burglary tools in his pocket. After violently resisting, O’Keefe was arrested.

On the sidewalk next to the removed manhole cover, officers found five high-voltage copper wires, cut on the ends, that the suspect had abandoned in his flight from the officers. Each wire was six- to seven-feet in length.

Police determined that there was a second suspect in this theft who evaded police. Based on police dispatch description, this suspect was a white male, 5’7”, with scruffy hair and wearing a black leather jacket. Police later detained a man matching this description.

O’Keefe has been charged with theft, possession of burglary tools, and resisting arrest, and remains in custody. High-voltage wire thieves risk electrocution for scrap metal dealer prices that cap at about $3 dollars a pound. Thirty feet of wiring may weigh twenty pounds.

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