Suspected Copper Thief Ordered To Stay Away From Schools
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A man allegedly caught on camera falling two stories when he reportedly tried to steal copper from Charles Wyche Elementary in Miami Gardens has been ordered to stay away from school.
The judge also set bond at $160,000 for 21-year old Anthony Pepitone who was arrested last Saturday and charged eight counts of burglary along with possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief.
According to the school’s security cameras, police said, Pepitone arrived wearing a ski mask and then began 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 would-be burglar fall to the ground – a drop of more than 25 feet. Writhing in pain, the man then dragged himself out on to a walkway and attempted to stand up but immediately fell 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 he reviewed the tape. “As you can see from the video, he’s not the most skillful burglar.”
Miami-Dade Schools police Chief Charles 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.
Police believe Pepitone and his suspected partner, 18-year old Dustin Wallace, are responsible for a number of school break-ins in Hialeah, Miami Gardens and North Miami Beach.