Reporting Nick Janes
CARMICHAEL (CBS13) Members of a Carmichael church that had been targeted by copper thieves for two nights in a row managed to help nab the suspected thieves when the greedy pair returned for a third night.
Just hours after a report by CBS13’s Tony Lopez on the repeated copper theft at the church aired, the alleged suspects returned to the scene of the crime, but this time, church officials were prepared.
They set up a baby monitor on top of the Carmichael Bible Church at 7100 Fair Oaks Blvd., hooked it up to a monitor and VCR, and took shifts watching it.
Around 4:30 Friday morning, more than six hours into the overnight stakeout, the alleged thieves returned and Pastor Jeff Livingston was watching. He saw the suspects return, alerted other members of the church and called authorities.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies arrived shortly thereafter and arrested the pair, identified Friday as Curtis Darnell, 36, and Howard Sanders, 26.
Detectives are currently trying to determine if the two are responsible for the previous break-ins.
“Like an adrenaline rush, ‘Hey guys come out here, come out here, they’re there,” Pastor Jeff told CBS13. “I believe that justice is served to the wicked. Sometimes we see that and sometimes we don’t. This time we got to be a part of it happening, so it feels good.”
The church is without heat right now because thieves grabbed copper from the heating and cooling system.
The suspects spent the first night preparing for the costly theft by draining the Freon out of the machines and tore out as much copper as they could carry on the second night.
When the thieves left behind tools, church officials were concerned that they may return for a third night and put their plan into place.
The damage will likely add up to more than $50,000.
Sanders and Darnell were each charged with felony counts of vandalism, grand theft and criminal conspiracy.