SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- U.S. Forest Service says they need the public's help in finding information about copper thefts, or they might not be able to open certain recreation sites for summer.
USFS says the thieves have targeted restrooms at Kiva Picnic Area, Fallen Leaf Campground, and Pope and Baldwin beaches, vandalizing the buildings in their attempts to access the copper pipes in the plumbing and sell them for scrap metal.
Forest Service law enforcement officers and the El Dorado County Sherriff’s office are conducting a joint investigation of the incidents. The violations, which include damaging and removing government property, carry the standard criminal penalty of fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail for each charge.
The Forest Service can also pursue civil penalties aimed at recovering the cost of repairing the facilities, which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Other recreation sites in the Lake Tahoe Basin have also experienced recent thefts in recent months.
Forest Service law enforcement personnel say they now have agency facilities under heavy surveillance. If you have information on the thefts, you can report it anonymously by calling the Lake Tahoe Secret Witness Program at (530) 541-6800 or reporting online at http://www.edcgov.us/Government/Sheriff/WebForms/Anonymous_Crime_Tip.aspx
. You can also call Forest Service law enforcement at (530) 545-9853.”