Alleged stolen-copper salesmen plead not guilty

Two Bay Area men arrested for trying to sell stolen copper out of the back of a stolen U-Haul truck Friday pled not guilty to five felony charges Monday.

Ernest Grant Lovett, 22, of San Jose, and Robert Lee Williams, 43, of San Bruno, were arraigned Monday on charges of attempting to sell the copper while parked at Sierra Pacific Recycling Center at 501 Bragato Road in San Carlos.

Lovett was caught attempting to sell the copper, estimated to be worth $15,000, mere hours after he was sentenced to probation Friday morning in a domestic violence case.

“He got three years’ probation F riday morning and was ordered to obey all laws,” Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. “He had a little trouble with that later in the day.”

San Carlos police received a call at 3 p.m. Friday from the recycling center’s owner, who said the two men looked suspicious. As police arrived, the two fled in opposite directions. Williams was arrested without incident on the 500 block of Industrial Road. Police attempted to stop Lovett with a Taser stun gun, but the momentum of his running freed him from the device’s wiring. He was arrested after San Carlos police found him hiding on El Camino Real in Belmont.

Police say the copper was stolen from Bayshore Supply & Lights on Industrial Road on July 31. The U-Haul van, police added, was reported stolen out of Belmont on July 31. Police discovered marijuana, a loaded shotgun, two unloaded handguns and a crossbow after the Friday arrests.

The two men face five felony charges, including possession of stolen materials, a stolen vehicle, firearms, resisting arrest and illegal possession of a police scanner. Each face six years in prison, Wagstaffe said. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 16 and their bail was set at $50,000.

bfoley@examiner.com

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