A construction site hardly seems like a criminal's paradise, but don't let the appearance fool you. The stacks of materials inside are a gold mine for the black market.
Washoe County Sheriff's Detective William Englemann says some have made up to $80 thousand per year in criminal activity. Englemann has been tracking the work of Richard Warren Fimby since last September
He says evidence from here to as far as Sacramento County links Fimby to nearly 400 pounds of stolen copper. That research led a judge to sentence Fimby to up to six years in prison.
Englemann says Fimby stole nearly $300 thousand worth of materials from Sierra Pacific, last year. But his scam hit a dead end when he took his stash to Solid Waste Recycling Center in Reno. Employees noticed the copper being recycled was eerily similar to the materials taken from Sierra Pacific.
Many utility companies that have been victimized by these thieves are calling on the district attorney to enact tougher penalties next legislative session.