SHARECOMMENTMORE

JAMESTOWN, CA - Tuolumne County narcotics enforcement officers caught three suspected copper thieves in the act Friday morning.

The two officers were making a business check at 6911 Obyrnes Ferry Road at 11:15 a.m.They heard what sounded like hand saws being used coming from inside the building, said Tuolumne County sheriff's Sgt. Jeff Tulumne. Looking in a window, they said they saw a man who appeared to be sawing something.

Wilson said the officers identified themselves and called for the man to come out. Instead, he made a hand gesture indicating the officers should wait a minute and then he disappeared from view.

Moments later, the officers said a car with three men in it came from behind the building and drove out onto the road.

Wilson said the officers followed and made a traffic stop on the car and detained the occupants.

A search of the car's trunk revealed copper wiring and other copper materials believed stripped from the business, Wilson said.

The damage to the building from the removal of the metal was estimated at more than $100,000, he said.

The three men, identified as Joseph Mcintyre, 45; Sean Mcintyre, 51; and Johnny Tuck, 43, were arrested and booked into Tuolumne County Jail for felony vandalism and burglary.