Authorities have arrested a pair of thieves who they say stole copper wire from more than a dozen church parking lots in Cooper City in the past month.
Shawn Loschiavo, 28, and Tanya Yurke, 30, are both charged with seven counts of grand theft in the unholy stealing spree that began on Sept. 2, the Broward Sheriff's Office said Thursday.
Loschiavo, who is also charged with resisting arrest without violence, was being held on $35,000 bond Thursday, records showed. Yurke was being held on $7,000 bond. It was unknown whether they have attorneys.
Authorities said the two targeted the copper wiring from light poles at churches and businesses, leaving the parking lots in the dark.
"We do know from speaking to one of the individuals that on one case at one time he was actually electrocuted and hurt," said Sgt. Sam Cavalieri.
According to the BSO, the thefts included:
- Sept. 2: Cooper City Church of God, 9191 Stirling Rd.
- Sept. 7: United Pentecostal Church, 5201 S. Flamingo Rd.
- Sept. 21: Stirling Office Park, 9700 Stirling Rd.
- Sept. 22-25: Potential Church, 12401 Stirling Rd.
- Sept. 26: United Pentecostal Church, 5201 S. Flamingo Rd.
- Oct. 2: Cooper Office Center, 10620 Griffin Rd.
- Oct. 2: Christ the Rock Church, 11000 Stirling Rd.
Loschiavo and Yurke were arrested at Christ the Rock Church around 4 a.m. Wednesday, when detectives pulled into the parking lot to conduct surveillance and spotted the man acting suspiciously, the sheriff's office said.
When Loschiavo spotted the deputies, he ran to a waiting car with Yurke inside. Deputies found hundreds of feet of copper wiring inside the car that the pair had stolen earlier from the Cooper Office Center, authorities said.
They later admitted to the other wire thefts, and had been selling the copper at scrap yards, the sheriff's office said.
"We are dealing with desperate people. These people are just trying to make money any way they can. To them it is an easy way. To us it is a dangerous way, but to them it is an easy way," Cavalieri said.