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Updated Nov 13, 2012 - 4:08 pm

Authorities recover $1.5 million in stolen copper

Stolen copper ingots are shown. (Arizona Department of Public Safety)

PHOENIX -- Authorities recovered $1.5 million in copper plates stolen from the Asarco plant in Hayden.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Carrick Cook says the case began in late September with the recovery of $300,000 in copper plates that were found in the back of a commercial vehicle during a traffic stop and later at a warehouse in Marana.

Cook says the warehouse was supplying copper to a scrap metal yard in the Los Angeles area and that federal authorities moved to stop the shipment of those items to China.

In all, $1.25 million in copper sheets were recovered from six shipping containers in the Los Angeles area.

Three containers were stopped before their ship departed, while the other three were called back after leaving port.

DPS spokesman Bart Graves says arrests are expected.

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