Copper theft suspects busted after 911, business lines disrupted

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On June 4, a copper theft led to the disabling of the 911 and business lines at the Pinole Police Department’s West Bay Communications Center, which provides enforcement-related dispatch services to Pinole, Hercules and San Pablo.

That happened again this past weekend, but this time, copper thieves were arrested, according to Pinole police.

At about 7:20 p.m. Saturday, the Communication Center was alerted to a disruption in its 911 and business lines. Calls were swiftly rerouted to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

At about the same time, Pinole police were dispatched to the area where the June 4 copper theft occurred. There, they found three men who defied officers’ orders and fled into an open field toward a residential area, police said.

Police established a perimeter and enlisted help from a Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office helicopter and a K9 unit. Two of the three suspects were apprehended but the third got away, police said.

Jesus Arias-Ayala, 31, of Hayward, was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on charges of felony vandalism and damaging telephone lines, while Daniel Mena-Diaz, 49, of Richmond, was booked on the same charges with the addition of a probation violation.

As of this writing, 911 calls for Pinole, Hercules and San Pablo continue to be answered by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and transferred to the West Bay Communication Center. Several business lines for other city departments were also still down.