MIAMI GARDENS (CBS4) – The would-be thief who was looking to steal copper from a Miami-Dade school when he fell and injured himself was arrested.
The man, identified as 21-year-old Anthony Luis Pepitone, fell more than two stories, a debilitating plunge that left him unable to walk, apparently with a broken hip or leg as he attempted to steal copper from equipment on the roof of the school.
The hapless Spiderman was captured by security cameras at Charles Wyche Elementary School in Miami Gardens. He arrived, wearing a ski mask, and begins to arrange ropes he carried for a climb up the outside wall of the school to the roof, more than two stories above.
Moments later a second camera angle shows the Pepitone falling to the ground – a drop of more than 25 feet – where he begins to writhe in pain. The intruder dragged himself out on to a walkway and attempted to stand up, but immediately fell back down. He then dragged himself on his belly out of the school, pushing a pair of bolt cutters in front of him.
“He was trying to get on the roof of the school to commit copper theft,” said schools police Sergeant Ivan Silva. “As you can see from the video, he’s not the most skillful burglar.”
“He sustained what we believe is a significant injury,” said schools police Chief Charles Hurley.
Hurley said copper theft has become a major national security and public safety issue.
“It is a billion dollar a year business. Thieves are stealing copper from utility poles, air conditioning units, school equipment, even churches,” Hurley said.
Pepitone apparently doesn’t have a future in mountain climbing. He got away not just crippled but empty-handed.
None of the equipment containing copper on the school roof was damaged or disturbed, leading investigators to believe he fell while trying to pull himself onto the roof.
Pepitone was booked on Saturday, a day after his birthday, which is on December 16.
He is facing eight counts of burglary among other charges, including criminal mischief.