Police Catch Man Stealing Copper Pipes

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Honolulu Police catch a man red-handed stealing more than a hundred pounds of copper. And now, he could be charged under the new law making the crime a felony.

The man was spotted during routine surveillance in an area with a history of copper theft. The 39-year old was caught pushing a trash container filled with about 140-pounds of copper. That's worth about $280.

Police caught him Thursday night on Catlin Drive, in the military housing area along Nimitz Highway. He was arrested on theft, trespassing, and contempt charges. But police say the theft charge will likely be amended under the new law, which makes it a felony if you're caught with a pound or more of stolen copper.

"It's a serious offense," said Capt. Moana Heu. "The legislature I think is well aware of it, and that's why they passed this law, to let people know it's not just something you can get a slap on the hand for and go on your merry way."

It's a couple blocks away from where a man was electrocuted while trying to steal copper wiring last March.

Under the new copper law, the suspect in this case faces up to five years in prison.