Pair arrested on suspicion of copper wire theft at Pacific Steel Casting

Berkeley police officers arrested a man and woman Monday morning after catching them stripping copper wire at Pacific Steel Casting, authorities report.

Just after 8 a.m., BPD was called to the 600 block of Gilman Street (near Second Street) when someone reported a nearby commercial break-in underway at Pacific Steel Casting, said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman. The business has been vacant since 2018.

“When officers entered the business, they spotted two suspects stripping copper wiring from the building’s electrical system,” White told Berkeleyside in a prepared statement. “When officers searched the pair, they also found bolt cutters and battery-powered tools.”

Police identified the individuals as Roger Melz, 42, and Cathryn Laszlo, 37, White said. Police said neither has a permanent address. Melz and Laszlo were arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary and possession of burglary tools, White said.


Melz was also arrested on an outstanding warrant from Alameda County from a previous burglary, White said.

Laszlo, who is listed in booking records as unemployed, was being held without bail Monday but no longer appears in Alameda County’s Inmate Locator system.

Melz, who is a musician according to booking records online, remains in custody with a bail of $55,000. He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

Melz was charged with felony burglary in 2018 and entered a no-contest plea to misdemeanor burglary in that case, according to Alameda County Superior Court records online. He was sentenced to probation until December 2021.

Laszlo’s last conviction was for felony vehicle theft in 2013, according to court records online.

Emilie Raguso is senior reporter at Berkeleyside. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.com. Phone: 510-459-8325.