Two residents of a Stockton homeless camp are in jail after a tip through Crime Stoppers led police to dozens of stolen parking meters.
The camp is in an industrial area near Mormon Slough and down the street from the San Joaquin Food Bank.
Among the trash piled in the camp were pieces of some the 86 parking meters that were taken over the past few weeks. A large pipe cutter was found that was apparently used to cut the parking meter posts.
The parking authority says meters are emptied every couple of days and that the suspected thieves, identified as 42-year-old Christopher Wilcoxson and 41-year-old James Robert Stafford, didn’t get away with much money.
Police say a recycling businesses was approached but refused to take the meters and posts as scrap metal.
“The recycling centers did the right thing, they said ‘no’ and turned them away. So they came back to the homeless encampment and actually tried to burn some of the evidence,” said Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva.
While most of the meters were destroyed or dismantled, a few seemed to be intact.
It is unknown if any of the meters can be put back into service.
The city was in the process of replacing the meters at about $1,000 each.