2 men charged with severing utility line, disabling 911 service

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The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office has charged two men in connection with the severing of a utility line that cut 911 service for residents in Pinole, Hercules and San Pablo.

Jesus Francisco Arias-Ayala, 31, of Hayward, and Daniel Antonio Mena-Diaz, 49, of Richmond, were arrested by Pinole police on Saturday, June 22. Around 7:15 p.m. that night, officers responded to reports of a 911 system outage and traced the issue to a bridge near the Pinole-Hercules city line on San Pablo Avenue. 

Upon arrival, officers found Arias-Ayala, Mena-Diaz and a third suspect under the bridge, police said. Arias-Ayala and Mena-Diaz were apprehended following a brief chase.

During the outage, 911 calls were being rerouted to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. 

Arias-Ayala was subsequently charged with felony for cutting utility line, felony vandalism, a misdemeanor for resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer, and a misdemeanor for possession of burglar’s tools. Mena-Diaz’s two felony charges are the same as Arias-Ayala, as is one misdemeanor charge of resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer.

Both men were scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon.

It wasn’t the first time an incident like this occurred recently. On June 4, a copper theft led to the disabling of the 911 and business lines for a week. Arias-Ayala and Mena-Diaz were found in the same area where the June 4 copper theft occurred.