9OYS Crime Watch

Two copper thieves arrested following shooting

CREATED Feb. 7, 2013 - UPDATED: Feb. 7, 2013

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  • Video by 1041thetruth.com

  • Robert Russell was arrested and booked into the Pima County Jail for two counts of third degree burglary.

  • Chauncey Vasquez was also booked on the same two counts of third degree burglary, in addition to a charge of unlawful possession of a dangerous drug and narcotic paraphernalia.

Reporter: Justin Schecker, Cory Marshall

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson Police arrested two copper thieves near Union Pacific Railroad property just south of downtown after an officer-involved shooting early Thursday morning. 

TPD officers responded to the incident about 12:30 a.m. after Union Pacific Railroad police reported that two copper thieves were on their property near South Park Avenue and 16th Street. 

Sgt. Chris Widmer tells 9 On Your Side that after an officer arrived at the scene, there was a confrontation with two men, Chauncey Vasquez and Robert Russell. The officer fired one shot, but no one was injured. 

With the help of Union Pacific officers, police were then able to arrest the two men. Sgt. Widmer says both men have been charged with third degree burglary.

The investigation is ongoing. 

This latest brazen attempted copper theft has nearby industrial businesses on alert.

Richard Ramirez is the warehouse manager for Tucson Winnelson Plumbing Supply. He has seen firsthand, people walking and even driving by, casing the area.

Two years ago, copper thieves hit up his warehouse. Since then, the plumbing supply company installed an alarm system and moved all copper out of sight.

"It's just because you strive so hard to keep it secure and safe and if something like that happens [it's] disappointing, very disappointing," Ramirez said.

Police are also getting aggressive in training officers to better investigate copper thefts.

"One way or another we got to figure out a better plan or something to implement [and] make sure these types of things don't happen," Ramirez continued.