3 Held for String of Wine Country Solar Thefts

By Jodi Hernandez
|  Thursday, Oct 1, 2009  |  Updated 5:45 PM PDT
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Napa Wineries Hit by Thieves

Jodi Hernandez

Stealing solar panels in Napa was big business for awhile.

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Napa Valley County authorities are holding three suspects that may be responsible for a string of solar panel thefts in custody.

The trio were arrested shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday.The suspects are a transient named James Deakins, Stockton resident Scott Phillips and Roger Freitas of Oakley.

Deputies arrested the three men after an alarm was triggered at the Honig Vineyard solar panel field in Rutherford, Calif.

After police staked out a vehicle left at the scene, they arrested the trio a few hours later, authorities said.

Detectives believe the suspects may be responsible for a string of solar panel thefts in the past year and a half. The sheriff's department said it has been working with the wineries  The panels are an expensive target. Each is valued at more than $1,000.

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