Three people were arrested at a recycling center in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood after buying stolen copper and other metals from undercover police officers early Saturday morning, police said Monday.
The sting took place around 6 a.m. Saturday at a recycling center near the intersection of 20th and Indiana streets.
PG&E has documented more than 35 thefts of underground vault utility copper in the past six months, while The City's Department of Public Works has reported numerous stolen manhole covers and backflow preventers, according to police.
Samples and photos of all of those stolen items were given to junk dealers and metal recyclers in the area to detect stolen property, police said.
The Police Department also started a task force based in its Bayview Station to combat the dealers from buying the stolen materials and contributing to the numerous thefts in the area.
On Saturday, undercover officers from the task force brought items to the recycling center that were clearly marked as the property of either PG&E or DPW, but it was still purchased by the center's employees.
The three employees, whose names were not immediately available, were arrested and booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property, permit violations, as well as municipal and business code violations, according to police.