Police arrested five people early Tuesday after setting up a surveillance operation to catch copper thieves at a recycling center.
Police records say an officer was stationed at Wise Recycling Center because of recent burglaries. A surveillance camera captured the five suspects entering the center and rummaging through scrap copper shortly before 1 a.m.
After officers arrived the suspects ran, but were apprehended a short time later. All were charged with theft and held without bond.
High copper prices have made the metal a target of thieves, who have broken into power plants and abandoned factories to take wiring.
One of two men who police said were injured last week when they tried to steal copper wire from a closed southwest Virginia foundry died on Sunday.
Christopher Brandon Goad, of Radford, suffered second- and third-degree electrical burns to at least 60 percent of his body after he cut into a 4,160-volt wire with a hacksaw at the Radford Foundry on last week.