The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today’s winners are Richard Moreno, Carlos Montes, Jorge Respeto, Angel Respeto, and Carlos Ambrogi. They get the award for the following

RIVIERA BEACH — Police say they took down an elaborate ring of thieves who were literally stealing the phone lines from beneath the streets of Palm Beach County.

Police on Monday night arrested five men accused of stealing thick copper wiring that could be worth as much as $1 million, according to a police report. Sgt. Pat Galligan said all the suspects arrested on attempted burglary and possession of stolen property charges are from the Miami area: Richard Moreno, 35; Carlos Montes, 41; Jorge Respeto, 36; Angel Respeto, 37; and Carlos Ambrogi, 28.

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The men would dress in fake utility worker uniforms and ride around in a fake repair van with the logos “Utility Service Contractors of Florida” and “Utility Maintenance & Repair Services Inc.” on it, according to the report. They would set up orange cones around a manhole so it looked like they were doing legitimate work and then go under the road through and steal thick copper cable used by AT&T for phone lines.

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But their cleverness may have been their undoing, Galligan said. After AT&T contacted authorities in Riviera Beach saying they had been targeted, police were on the lookout and spotted the work van. They contacted AT&T which said no company of that name worked for them.

The burglars also returned to the same location they had hit the week before, beneath the BP gas station at 2520 Broadway, Galligan said, because they knew the phone company would fix the damage they caused and install more wire.

Police arrested the suspects while they were trying to carry off that burglary and officers found large bolt cutters in the back of their truck, Galligan said. The FBI is now involved in the investigation and Galligan said investigators are trying to determine if other crews are trying to pull off similar heists in South Florida.

Returning to the scene of a previous burglary, because they knew the copper would be replaced, is beyond dumb. Did any of these Einsteins think people in the area might be suspicious the second time around? I have no trouble naming Richard Moreno, Carlos Montes, Jorge Respeto, Angel Respeto, and Carlos Ambrogi today’s Knuckleheads of the Day.

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