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Businesses left in the dark after thieves steal circuit breakers in Fresno County

Jun 12, 2023

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Business owners in northeast Fresno and Clovis are out thousands of dollars after skilled thieves made off with their circuit breakers.

On Friday afternoon, it was business as usual at a Valero on Villa and Bullard in Clovis.

The owners of the gas station say business was interrupted Saturday morning when they noticed the power was out.

"We walk back this way, and we find those panels taken off. This, panel one, panel two, panel three," said business owner Bob Saleh.

He said he will spend about $30,000 to replace the circuit breakers at his business.

"We work hard, we work hard. We work 12 hours, seven days sometimes. You know, we work hard to make a living like everybody else," said Saleh.

He will be taking extra security measures to avoid any more theft. More than five miles away in Fresno, the same situation happened at Valley Medical Supplies, on the same day.

Business owner Ruby Maciel says her employee noticed the power was out on Saturday morning.

"We're usually closed and when she came in she realized we had an outage. PG&E was already here and they told us it wasn't an outage, well, it was but it was due to our circuit breaker being stolen," said Maciel.

She was shocked because she has a fence and locks securing the circuit breaker. And there was more trouble for the small business owner.

"We left our house at 7 a-m, we didn't get the circuit breaker until noon. So, we went to four or five places here in town," said Maciel.

Electrical Power Source business owner Hector Pino said these crimes are surprising to hear.

"There's really no precious metal or anything like that within that breaker. I think it's just the availability of finding the breaker, they are tough to come across," said Pino.

Commercial circuit breakers could cost upwards of $5,000.

There are two other businesses in Northeast Fresno that were also hit. They had to drive to Los Angeles to find the specific circuit breaker for their business. They said they spent over $8,000, and that's not counting labor costs.

Action News reached out to the Fresno Police Department.

They were not able to comment on these incidents at this time, as it's an ongoing investigation.