Copper theft suspect goes to court
Police allege the man is the ringleader in a series of similar crimes
A 43-year-old man accused of stealing copper wire from a street light pole on the H-1 freeway is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow in Honolulu District Court.
James Bronson Taylor Jr., whom authorities identified as a ringleader in a spree of copper thefts in recent months, made his initial appearance at District Court yesterday. Taylor has been charged with copper theft and second-degree criminal property damage.
He was caught after a weekend stakeout of an electrical light pole in Makakilo. About 3:30 a.m. Sunday, a deputy state sheriff saw Taylor walking down the Makakilo Drive onramp on the westbound shoulder of the H-1 Freeway.
Taylor was seen allegedly lying down and pulling wire from the ground by a street light pole. Taylor fled on foot toward the Makakilo Drive overpass, and was found hiding under a tree.
Rolled-up insulated copper wire was seen lying on the ground near the electric pull box by the street light pole. About 180 feet of wire, weighing about 70 pounds and worth about $2,000, was pulled.
"Our deputy sheriffs believe he's one of the suspected ringleaders," said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy. "I cannot disclose why we believe this because the investigation is ongoing."
McCoy said the sheriffs believe others are involved and hope to detain more suspects.
Police have listed Taylor as having no local address. He has been convicted in the past of fourth-degree theft and violating temporary restraining orders and a protective order.
In a 1998 petition for temporary restraining order against his son, James B. Taylor said the suspect would often argue with him, challenging him to fights.
The father said Taylor Jr. was dangerous because of alleged abuse of crystal methamphetamine and alcohol.
The father also accused his son of stealing food and money from him, leaving pornographic videos around his Makakilo home and doing drugs in front of his granddaughter.
Taylor's bail has been set at $25,000. His arrest was part of a joint operation by the state departments of Public Safety and Transportation and the Honolulu Police Department, McCoy said.