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.

WATCH: Tony Lopez’ Original Report

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.

copper thefts UPDATE: Church Uses Baby Monitor To Help Nab Suspected Copper Thieves

Howard Sanders, 26, left, and Curtis Darnell, 36

“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.

Comments (183)
  1. LeAnne says:

    Good job! Glad they got caught–the audacity of stealing in God’s house

    1. Jim Spaulding says:

      They look like Occulosers, the Rabble without a cause.

  2. sassafras says:

    Some one is buying the stolen copper that has been disappering on a regular basis, why can’t the police put “THEM” out of business, there can’t be to many businesses that purchase stolen “copper”for goodness sake. What a simple way to catch thieves, that gives me an idea how to catch one(not copper tho), thanks again CBS.

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      How can someone at a recycling plant tell that copper piping has been stolen and not merely salvaged from a construction job?

      1. Rick says:

        Hows this. If it’s brought in by a guy with a shopping cart, it’s STOLEN!!! No job site lets copper leave as junk anymore. If it’s not brought in by a company rep, it’s stolen!!! They take it from the thieves because the know they can pay less for it without questions.

  3. Terry Horsley says:

    Just another level of income redistribution from the rich (people who work) to the poor.

    1. Big Bear says:

      Poor is a euphemism for druggie. Most people are in poverty because of drug use. We need a real war on drugs, fought by soldiers.

      1. Eliot says:

        I disagree. Most druggies turn t crime to buy their drugs. If drugs weren’t illegal, they wouldn’t cost so much. Also, I would be able to buy Sudafed in order to breathe without worrying that they’ll send me to prison if I accidentally buy 1 gram too much, like 31-year-old Tanna Jarrell, who bought 4 boxes in two weeks, (her husband and her daughter were both sick) and was sent to prison for 20 years. You read that right, 20 years. I personally do not care a whit if some people want to burn their bodies out with dangerous drugs; this stupid war on drugs is costing me my health by preventing me from treating chronic congestion due to allergies, thus triggering my asthma. It’s also putting good people in prison who shouldn’t be there.

      2. annette says:

        Eliot… you shouldn’t be posting inaccurate info. Tanna Jarrell live alone, and had multiple felony convictions. The laws restricting Sudafed purchases may or may not be good, but using false anecdotes won’t help your case. She was not some “ordinary mom” buying allergy meds for her family.

      3. Bill smitten says:

        Tanna got caught with 20 other people buying sudafed and had two prior felonies. Bad example partner.

      4. And I think the first cell should be filled by you Big Bear when you pop that Budweiser.

  4. gna says:

    I am elated to hear these scoundrels were arrested,
    now I truly hope they have to pay for damages, and
    are held accountable for their crimes, make examples of them .

    1. TheRealKingMax says:


      Chopping off one arm and one leg from each dirtbag would be a fair start.

      Well….. bet they won’t do it again!

  5. .... says:

    how is the damage 50,000 ? I dont know where they shop for replacement heating and cooing but 50k is a bit much

    good job on the detective work though

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      “how is the damage 50,000 ?”

      Uh, the thieves probably destroyed walls & ceilings & the AC/heating units themselves when they stole the copper.

    2. eddieb says:

      They most likely will have to replace the entire condenser unit. Units to cool a large comercial building arent like the ones for your house. Also most likely there were multiple units. It is not like they stoled a few wires.

      1. NY9Solyndra says:

        “It is not like they stoled a few wires.”

        “stoled” a few wires?

  6. The_Truth says:

    1: its not so easy to catch the guys buying the copper, for the mere fact, can you prove it was stolen or is being recycled from trash cleanup or a DIY project?

    2: A home Heating Colling system may be cheap but one required to run a large building or church can be quite costly, plus i’m sure these nitwits stole copper and such from other items too.

    3: they should change the law where stealing copper becomes a capitol offense and send the thieves to the chair, see how much they steal then.

    1. Paul Pierce says:

      Your ID is The_Truth and you’ve used bullet points in a blog. Now I doubt everything you say.

      1. Eliot says:

        Paul, you’re kidding, right? What did Truth say that could possibly be a lie? The idea of making copper theft a capitol offense is silly, but the first two points are just common sense.

      2. Coffecan says:

        Paul, When did a comments section of a news article become a blog?
        Maybe you could point me in the proper direction to educate myself so that I can define a blog, a comments section, and the proper protocol to use when addressing subjects and comments in a blog, a comments section, and just plain e-mailing etiqutette. i.e. typing in all caps equals shouting? etc.
        Your reply would be appreciated. Thank You, Coffeecan

  7. Nice hair says:

    Let me guess….three days of TWEEKING!! Should have went to bed tweekers!

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      Should have gone to bed, not went.

  8. F.L.H. says:

    Terry Horsley:

    Are you saying that everyone who works is rich? Are you also saying that the church is rich? Far from it! I (a attendee of CBC) would estimate that about 20% are unemployed, and 0% would be considered rich. They sacrifice what they money that do give to the church, but they don’t give up hope even when something like this happens! Sanders and Darnell are the opposite of Robin Hood.

  9. Denise says:

    It’s sad to say, but I doubt that these theives will pay for the damages or even have the resources or potential resources to do so. Nor will they spend any substantial amount of time in prison or jail for their crimes. Curtis Darnell is a career criminal with over 10 arrest records (public information), several of which are felony offenses, a lot of plea deals, and little actual time served. Darnell has proven himself to be a menace to society with little hope of rehabilitation; he needs to be locked up for life. Sanders is just a low life druggie following in Darnell’s footsteps. Sad.

    1. Big Bear says:

      There are too many of these career criminal losers out there, ruining every life they come across. They have been allowed to propagate because we are a nation run into the ground by lawyers, journalists, shrinks and other paper-shufflers. Let the soldiers run things for a while and the lowlife class will disappear. Few if any will be missed.

      1. Soldiers? You are a useful idiot at the very best.
        The core causes need addressed such as shipping all the business out of the country. Drugs being illegal could be a big factor here. Knee jerk reactions over symptoms of the problem does nothing. This is what our owners want. A house divided. I assure you most of the causes were instituted by government but do not have the time to go into it here or the space.

        If you want to see what soldiers in the streets means:

    2. casie says:

      Well, when they put enough info out there, you go right ahead and research it. Why no? They put their info out there!? However, the only people I know who know of the info that YOU obtained ARE in fact DRUGgies themselves. Who are you really Denise? Did you gat a bunk sack and decide to go all civilian-like momentarily. Show your true colors, GIRL! Be proud of who you are. DENISE IS A TWEAKER, AND SHE IS P R O U D! … or you could have such an empty life that yopu fill it with the LATEST gossip

      1. casie says:

        FYI, I am the pregnant girlfriend of curtis. Maybe the horomones, maybe the hurt. Whatever it is, I apologize, but I don’t regfret what I said. The fact that you took the extra effort to get really personal and find out his background really bothers me. Careful with your reply Denise, 14 weeks pregnant, fresh off drugs… i DON’T NEED THE ONE reaSON to make me relapse. But I’ll taKE IT.

  10. The Sage Waitress says:

    Can you say…Meth?

    1. Lockthemup says:

      Exactly! Good job, church staff!

  11. LEL says:

    Why is it columnists and newsies feel compelled to use such terms as “suspected” and “alleged” in stories like this when the perpetrators are nabbed in the act.

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      An arrest does not constitute a conviction. Innocent until proven guilty, right?

      If the media says the person is guilty and he gets off then the person could sue the media. Plus, the defense attorney would say that having the press determine and announce guilt like that would make it impossible for the defendant to get a fair trial.

    2. Because believe it or not our holy owners – the police have made mistakes.
      Yea really.

      Have you not read that the NYPD has framed drug users for decades?
      Yes they admitted to it. Framing people is common by cops. They get promoted that way and named cop of the year.

      Want to hear an interesting history on law enforcement in this country?
      You will be surprised…..

  12. AtlasObjectivist says:

    Wow, a couple of real winners there.

  13. Fanny Forbes Franklen says:

    So just what was god’s plan with these 2 degenerates? Please explain.

    1. TheRealKingMax says:


  14. David says:

    If we would just STERILIZE people as part of their sentence, these problems would go away. It is OBVIOUS from looking at these guys that they wanted money for meth.

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      “If we would just STERILIZE people as part of their sentence, these problems would go away.”

      Do you really believe these two men will have much opportunity to procreate?

  15. Andrew Coultre says:

    I hope “Occupy Sacramento” can get along without them for a few days.

  16. Mike says:

    “Most druggies turn t crime to buy their drugs. If drugs weren’t illegal, they wouldn’t cost so much” from a post above, have you had to buy any drugs from the pharmacy lately? Its probably cheaper on the streets.

  17. Joe says:

    Metal Recyclers need to be policed the same as pawn shops. On my visit to a recycler in Baltimore 99% of the customers were in pick up trucks and most could hardly speak english and were in a big hurry to get in and out (I understand why).

    So I hate to say it because we already have so much regulation in this country, but metal recycling should require a permit. A one time use permit and a frequent use for people bringing the stuff in. They should have to report where the materials come from, and use a legit ID to obtain a permit.

    People caught stealing obviously lose their permit if they have one and can be charged hefty fee for removing without a permit.

    That’s what its going to have to come to even if it won’t stop all theft, it should help reduce.

    1. I think that micro-chipping everyone would solve this problem Joe. Then our wonderful benevolent government would solve all crimes.

  18. eddieb says:

    Give them 20 years! They might get over their drug habits. Then again this in CA where the taxpayers will probably have to furnish them with drugs in prison to be fare.

    1. Randy Bobandy says:

      Any convict will tell you that it is just as easy if not easier to get drugs while in jail. They need to legalize all drugs and let the junkies take themselves out of the gene pool. Just as with prohibition… you are not going to stop it, just push it underground because of the big money involved in it, and the crime that goes with black market big money. You take one off the street, there are two more to take their place as there is big money involved. They have spent trillions of dollars on this “war on drugs” and have failed and will continue to fail until you take the monetary motivation out of selling them. Legalize all drugs and spend a fraction of the “war” money on education and rehabilitation for those that want it and you will have a far better result. But alas that will never happen because we have a prison for profit system and without all these non-violent drug criminals in the for profit prisons making many people rich…. Follow the money folks, it always leads to the truth behind things.

      1. Mr. C says:

        I doubt making Meth legal is going to solve the problem – more access to meth = more human debris.

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