Copper thieves nabbed near Sugar Land stadium

February 17, 2012 3:26:46 PM PST
It has happened again -- police say Sugar Land's newest attraction has been hit by scrap metal thieves. This time authorities have made arrests.

Investigators say the suspects were trying to blend in when they were caught. The three men arrested were wearing construction safety vests and hard hats. They told police they were construction workers. Police say they were imposters.

Just before midnight at Constellation Field, a Sugar Land police officer was patrolling the property and came across three men in a truck on a dirt road off of Highway 6. According to a police report, they had several coils of copper wire in the back of the truck -- nine bundles worth an estimated $10,000.

"They told the officer they were construction workers, so we contacted the superintendent to find out if these guys belonged out there," said Sugar Land spokesperson Doug Adolph. "They did not."

Arrested are Josue Escobar-Morales, 22, Ever Alirio Parada, 30, and Joel Alexander Lizama, 23. They are now accused of theft.

Sugar Land resident Melodee Fish said, "It's ridiculous."

Those living near the ballpark are stunned by the lengths to which some will go to steal, especially at a stadium where an out of baseball has not yet been played.

"That they would stoop to that level, that's not a very warm welcome," Fish said.

On December 30, thieves made off with 46 reels of copper from the same stadium construction site -- $25,000 worth. Police were looking to see if it was an inside job.

Since that theft, Sugar Land police beefed up patrols around the construction site, hoping to catch those responsible. It's too early to say if those who tried to steal the wiring this time were the same people who stole it before. Investigators are looking into that possibility.

Barton Malow Lineback, the general contractor for the construction site, has not returned our repeated calls for comment. The Sugar Land Skeeters refused comment. Opening day is set for April.