Urban miner admits Topsy copper tubing theft

Eirik Arizmendi

Eirik Arizmendi

A Sparks man admitted he stripped 1,000 feet of copper tubing from the roof of the Carson Valley Plaza in a classic case of urban mining.

Eirik Josephlee Arizmendi, 35, will have to pay restitution originally estimated at around $22,000.

On Tuesday, Arizmendi appeared out of custody in Douglas County District Court.

He entered guilty pleas to one count of principal to grand larceny and principal to willful injury to property. A trial was vacated.

A third charge was dismissed, and prosecutors agreed to recommend probation in exchange for the guilty plea.

Each charge carries a maximum of up to five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine as his sentencing on May 16.

The thefts occurred on March 10, 2021, according to court documents.

A maintenance worker discovered that someone had stripped the copper tubing from the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit above Famous Footwear on March 10.

It was soon discovered that all the copper from the units on top of the shopping center had been cut free. Ropes that were used to access the roof were found hanging off the back of the building.

There was also a lot of blood from where the thief had apparently injured himself and left some of the copper behind.

That blood was collected and tested to attempt to find out who was behind the theft of 1,000 feet of tubing from the structure.

In documents filed with the court in support of an arrest warrant, Investigator Steve Schultz said he was told by Reno authorities that there had been numerous instances where someone had stolen copper from roof units.

The thefts wouldn’t be discovered until someone tried to use their air conditioner.

DNA from the blood sample determined Arizmendi was a suspect. Phone records subpoenaed reportedly placed him near Douglas County early on the morning of March 10.

Urban miners vandalize equipment for valuable metals. Thieves use metal saws to steal catalytic converters from vehicles for the precious metals they contain.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment