Officer Roque was assigned to the Special Enforcement Detail team in February 2014. He soon realized businesses on Myford Road were a constant target of copper thefts, specifically the AT&T Training Center. The businesses had no security systems in place. He contacted the manager at AT&T and the owner of the adjacent business and together they devised a long-term plan to stop the copper thefts. Additional security measures were installed, and Officer Roque discovered the entry points the suspects were using.
On April 11, 2014, Officers Roque and Fetterling conducted an undercover surveillance in the AT&T lot. At approximately 12:30am, they observed a male suspect enter the lot through the front gate. He placed several pieces of copper in his vehicle. Officers Roque and Fetterling detained and arrested the suspect without incident. The suspect was determined to be an AT&T employee, and he admitted he had been stealing from his employer for about 20 years. The loss from this one suspect alone is estimated to be $100,000.
Based on the surveillance footage, Officer Roque knew there were additional suspects. He reviewed the footage again and documented each incident. He then contacted several recycling centers in Orange and Riverside Counties and determined one of the suspects had recycled the stolen copper at some of these locations. The SED team conducted surveillance at a residence in Orange County and confirmed the suspect was residing there.
Officer Roque presented the investigation to the District Attorney’s office and an arrest warrant (which included several counts of grand theft and possession of stolen property) was issued. On June 3, 2014, Officer Roque and the SED team arrested the second suspect, and collected additional evidence related to the investigation.
Officer Roque’s hard work, dedication, and persistent investigation provided a long-term solution and saved Tustin businesses from additional financial loss. And of course, two serial thieves were arrested! For the excellent work on this case, Officer Matthew Roque has been selected as the recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Officer of the Month Award for June 2014. Congratulations Officer Roque!