Manuel Castaneda

Tucson Police Department

A subcontractor for Tucson Electric Power was arrested Tuesday in connection with the theft of copper wire from the utility company and other facilities.

Manuel Castaneda, 31, was booked into the Pima County jail Tuesday and faces two counts each of felony theft and trafficking in stolen property, Sgt. Maria Hawke, spokeswoman for the Tucson Police Department, said in a news release.

Tucson Electric Power representatives called police Nov. 14 after an estimated 150 feet of new and scrap copper wire valued at $2,800 was stolen from the main power plant facility at 3950 E. Irvington Road near South Alvernon Way, between Nov. 9 and 11.

Detectives recovered the wire from a local scrap yard and determined Castaneda had sold the wire to the scrap dealer, Hawke said. They also recovered more than 1,000 pounds of copper wire Castaneda sold to a second scrap yard between Nov. 6 and 10.

“Further investigation revealed that Castaneda had been involved in scrapping various metals over an approximately one-year period of time, earning over $13,000 in profit during that time period,” Hawke said.

Castaneda used his position as a subcontractor to gain access to TEP-secured lots and facilities, Hawke said.

The investigation is ongoing. Detectives suspect there are other incidents of wire theft in Pima and Cochise counties that may be tied to Castaneda.