SAN ANTONIO -

San Antonio police arrested three people accused of stealing copper from a downtown parking garage early Monday morning.

SAPD investigators said a security guard was making a routine check at the garage on Avenue B between 8th and 9th streets when she noticed an open door.

Police and a K-9 unit were called to investigate and found a 22-year-old woman, a 34-year-old man and a 41-year-old man hiding in an empty room.

Officers took the three into custody and said they had backpacks full of tools and had already cut several bundles of copper.

Police believe the trio had cut 24 bundles of copper, each weighing about 50 pounds, when they were caught.

"It's really just a matter of time with a crime like this, because they will get sloppy. They will keep going back to that well, and they will get caught," said San Antonio police Sgt. Javier Salazar.

SAPD has a team of detectives who handle copper theft. Police said they often get tips from metal recyclers where thieves take stolen copper.

"Those detectives network quite frequently with the recycling companies, metal collection places, that will call our officers in the event that they do have something in there suspicious," Salazar said.

Investigators did not find a getaway car in the area, so they were not sure how the three planned to haul off the copper.

The names of the three suspects have not been released by police.

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