A man was caught carting around 600 pounds of stolen copper wire Tuesday after he attempted to sell a clearly stamped Department of Public Works manhole cover to a Dogpatch recycling center, police said.
About 8 a.m., a Bayview Police Station officer was reportedly called by an employee at a recycling center in the 300 block of 20th Street who said the manhole cover had obviously been stolen from The City. The employee identified the suspect as Robert Chapple, 44, of San Francisco and said he had been coming twice a week for the past month to sell copper, police said.
The quick-thinking officer then warned the only other recycling center in The City that purchases cast iron that Chapple might be coming by, said Sgt. Michael Andraychak.
Sure enough, at 1:30 p.m. the officer was called to a facility in the 1800 block of Evans Street, where Chapple was detained as he waited in line.
A search of his 1985 Chevrolet van revealed not only a large load of stolen copper wire, but also “many burglary tools” used by metal thieves, including saws, bolt cutters and gas torches. He also had a roll of chain-link fencing, Andraychak said. He was booked into County Jail on charges of possession of stolen property and burglary tools.