Alleged Chatsworth Copper Thief Nabbed in Calabasas

Michael Andrew Prizzi of Chatsworth is also accused of trying to hide his mushrooms in the back of the patrol car he was being held in.

A Chatsworth man accused of trying to steal $5,000 worth of copper from a Calabasas storage company was free on $20,000 bail today.

Michael Andrew Prizzi, 43, was arrested on Jan. 31 on suspicion of burglary, vandalism and possession of a controlled substance and released the same day, according to jail records.

An employee at the Storage Etc. at 24300 Ventura Blvd. called 911 when he noticed a Lexus in the back of the building for about 25 minutes, the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff's Station reported. 

The building was vacant and there had been recent copper thefts from the business. 

A responding deputy discovered Prizzi on the property with wire cutters and pliers sticking out of his back pants pocket. Prizzi admitted to the deputy he was "rummaging for copper," but thought it was OK because there wasn't a "No Trespassing" sign.

The deputy searched Prizzi and placed him in the patrol car before searching the property. He found cut wire from an electric motor in a small utility room.

The deputy also discovered a large bag with 40 pounds of copper wire.

While waiting in the patrol vehicle, Prizzi apparently slipped a Ziplock bag containing several dried mushrooms onto the floor of the patrol car in an attempt to hide it.

Joan Waters February 09, 2013 at 07:41 PM
So he drives a Lexus and is out on bail. Good luck in getting him back in court. Isn't this typical of our justice system? We catch criminals, release them on ridiculous bail - on $20,000 all he would have to come up with is $2,000 and then we're surprised when they don't show up. And, of course, he now sees how easy it is to commit a crime and be back on the streets soon after arrest.
Charles Murray May 08, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Had he not confessed, I'd have thought he was an electrician-hobbyist if not an electrician. I'm a qualified electrician, but do not have a license nor do I offer services to the public, as I am in California and I opt not to pay the outlandish costs and taxes of being an electrician here. However, I keep far more than 40 lbs of copper wire at any given time, as I often do electrical work on our own property or under other no-license -required circumstances. But the fact that I am not a practicing licensed electrician, and may be seen with large amounts of copper wire at any time, worries me that I might be falsely accused of stealing it. I can't always have receipts, because much of it is removed for re-use by me, or remnants from spools. It would be impossible to prove ownership or origin of wire I may possess.


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