Tuesday Feb 08 2011
'Prolific' metal thief caught redhanded in stakeout
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
Also accused of Auburn battery
A stakeout early Monday morning led to the arrest of a man who appeared to be trying to steal metal for resale, police said Tuesday. Roseville detectives reportedly saw Kenneth Elliot Amick, 45, of Carmichael, tampering with a water backflow device on Springview Drive in Rocklin. They linked him to at least three similar thefts of roughly a dozen reported since Dec. 20. “He’s very prolific,” said Roseville Det. Sgt. Darin DeFreece, who is overseeing the investigation. Stolen brass water valves can be disassembled and sold to scrap metal recyclers. Though the damage can cost $2,000 to repair, DeFreece said thieves earn about $40 per device. “That seems pretty desperate,” he said. Amick is in custody at the Placer County Jail on six charges that include grand theft and possession of burglary tools. Auburn police added three counts of battery with serious bodily injury, burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime once they learned Amick had been arrested. An Auburn detective said Amick was one of three suspects who entered an Auburn home Sept. 9 to beat two other men. DeFreece said that more charges will likely follow as detectives investigate other leads. When asked if the suspect is employed, he said, “His job is stealing.” While investigators believe Amick is behind multiple thefts at commercial properties, including the Press Tribune, they are on the lookout for other culprits. Thefts usually occur at night, when thieves turn off the water supply and then cut pipes to remove the devices, police said. Twice recently, a senior care facility in Roseville had its water supply cut off in the middle of the night by backflow device thieves. “We certainly think there are other thieves out there,” Roseville police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said. She reminded recycling centers that receiving stolen materials is a felony, regardless of the dollar value of the materials. Anyone with information about a metal theft is asked to call Roseville Crime Stoppers at (916) 783-7867. Callers may remain anonymous, and may be eligible for a cash reward. Lien Hoang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.