On July 3, 2014 at approximately 10:43 a.m. Butte County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle call at the end of Apica Ave, Oroville. During this time frame, a deputy sheriff was taking a theft of copper wire report from an AT&T supervisor on Miners Ranch Road near Mt. Ida, Oroville. While responding to the suspicious vehicle call, deputies located a male and female running down Olive Hwy near Apica Ave. A second male was contacted by a deputy standing near the vehicle. During the investigation, a large pile of insulated copper wire was found in some brush near the vehicle by deputies. It was later learned, the wire was stolen from power poles on Miners Ranch Road and was identified by the AT&T supervisor. The total loss and cost of replacing the damaged wire was estimated to be well in excess of $10,000.
While deputies were on scene, they located a third male who was identified as Niles Breland, age 34, hiding in brush near the vehicle. When Breland was contacted, he fled into a heavily wooded area and was not located after an extensive search. After the initial investigation, both males were arrested and the female was released. Joseph Bunnell, age 35, was booked into the Butte County Jail for possession of methamphetamine, grand theft, possession of stolen property, and tampering with phone lines. His bail was set at $60,000. Willie Williams Jr, age 41, was also booked into the Butte County Jail for grand theft, possession of stolen property, and tampering with phone lines. His bail was set at $45,000. Niles Breland is still outstanding and is wanted in connection with the stolen copper wire. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Butte County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 538-7322.
Released by: Sgt. Matt Keeling
Contact: Media Liaison Miranda McAfee-Bowersox
33 County Center Drive, Oroville, CA 95965