Jeffrey Wadleigh of Sacramento is charged with a variant of the hot new crime trend for 2012: metal theft, says the Sacramento Bee. Last month, he was caught at 1:30 a.m. with $2,000 worth of copper wiring that belonged to a construction company. Wadleigh, 48, a self-admitted methamphetamine addict, instead pleaded no contest and was sentenced to two years behind bars.
If metal thieves such as Wadleigh used to slide in and out of the system with little or no attention, they have become a top priority. Metal thefts these days are almost sure to produce relatively lengthy periods of incarceration. “In light of the damage they’re doing and the problems they’re causing, they need to be punished, and the word needs to get out that if you get caught, you’re going to get punished,” said Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi. Public defenders say about 10 metal thievery cases are coming in each week.