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. Gary says:

    The problem is recycled metal is untraceable. There aren’t serial numbers or any identification on it so there isn’t a way to say “That’s my AC”. Most jurisdictions require people recycling metal to shoe id and many copy such, but unless there is some way to prove where the copper came from there isn’t much way to regulate the theft. Maybe copper prices will drop again soon and this won’t be an issue any more.

  2. Localboy says:

    Put a bounty on copper thieves caught in the act. Sorry, I don’t believe these people can be rehabilitated, no point in keeping them in the gene pool.

    1. blackwater sniper says:

      we need to start killing all these ass holes on TV and they will stop if not keep on killing

  3. Michael Giuliani says:

    My solution is simple for copper thieves. When they come to your business, or home to steal copper give them lead instead!

    1. Scott says:

      I like how you think.

    2. Aaron says:

      But save the brass!

    3. Publius says:

      Right on target.

  4. Patrick says:

    These 2 look like they were taking a break from Occupy Sacramento.

    1. El Ronbo says:

      The biggest thieves wear expensive suits.

  5. Bill says:

    The frustration with thefts like this is that the junk yards know darn well it is stolen material yet they take it anyway because profit is all that matters…we have been Clintionized as a nation and hence our troubles….

  6. dan zarpentine says:

    all copper thieves should shot dead with lead. they wont do that again

  7. JohnF says:

    Releasing Freon into the atmosphere is a violation of federal environmental regulations carrying a $27,500.00 fine. That should be added to the charges too….

    1. Scott says:

      Right, because those two rocket scientist look like the type that will be financially successful in life.

      It would be pointless, like suing broke people just because you’re angry. It doesn’t cause them to have money.

      1. Ralph Gizzip says:

        True, you can’t get blood from a stone. But Federal charges are much more severe than State charges and can be used to put these two Einsteins in a very nasty place.

      2. Robert Jones says:


  8. John says:

    Notice the paster said ‘other businesses’. Are most churches businesses now?

    1. AZdude says:

      Are most i d i o t s Christians haters?

      1. Randy Bobandy says:

        How very Christian of you.

    2. Randy Bobandy says:

      Yep, tax-free businesses.

    3. If they are a 501c3 as most are they sure are a business obligated to Caesar.

  9. Doubltap says:

    Just shoot them dead at the scene. No need to waste groceries on this kind of trash

  10. Johnnie Flukie Redding says:

    Sounds like entrapment to me, someone call Gloria AllMeds and see if she’ll take the case.

  11. don says:

    They’ve illegally released freon into the atmosphere. Last time I checked that was a death penalty offense with the feds. /s

  12. robert g says:

    Put up a sign. FREE LEAD for copper thieves.

  13. JOe Dutra says:

    Meth freaks.

    1. The irony here is that most Christians support the un-godly and non-scriptural drug laws that often come back to bite them. In fact Christians support most of the things that are wrong with this world which is the ultimate irony.

  14. AZdude says:

    Is “Howard Sanders” an alias for Sean Penn?

  15. BigIdea says:

    Why don’t we pay for copper recycling in something less attractive to street thugs-recycled copper is only good for something like milk, eggs, bread, etc. like food stamps. Or take it only in trade for other metals…trade in copper and you get steel back, if it is a legit metal trade. Something to take the attractive cash out of the situation?

  16. chukkalady! says:

    They look like meth-heads!!! Waterboard them and sink them in the ocean!

  17. The Rev. Cab Calloway says:

    You boys could use some churchin’ up.

  18. fritz von says:

    Sorry but in California the church people are more guilty that the copper thieves. Felony to eavesdrop w/o a warrant.

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      Since when is it a felony to provide security on you own property?

      Have you noticed all those video cameras (many of which have sound) in the stores you visit?

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