Three men were arrested Friday after authorities caught them with copper wiring and other materials, the theft of which caused $100,000 worth of damage, authorities said.
About 11:15 a.m., two members of the Tuolumne County Narcotics Team — officers Craig Davis and Eric Erhardt — arrived at the former Blue Dolphin Enterprises, 6911 O'Byrnes Ferry Road, to do a business check.
As they approached the vacant building, they heard what they thought was a handsaw, said Sgt. Jeff Wilson of the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department.
They looked inside and caught the attention of a man, who gestured as if to tell authorities he would be a minute, Wilson said.
A short time later, a vehicle with three men inside pulled out and headed toward Copperopolis. Then the suspects turned around and headed back toward Highway 108.
They pulled over a short time later. A search of the trunk revealed copper wiring and other copper materials that had been stripped from the building.
Authorities estimated damage to the building at $100,000. Joseph McIntrye, 45, Sean McIntrye, 51, both of Jamestown, and Johnny Tuck, 43, of Columbia, were booked at the Tuolumne County Jail on burglary and felony vandalism charges.