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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: metal

Copper theft for wedding nets $18

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. (AP) — Police say a western Pennsylvania couple desperate for money to pay for their wedding netted just $18 for the stolen copper wire they cut from more than a dozen utility poles.

North Sewickley police say 23-year-old Joseph Russell and 24-year-old April Cater cut down the wires on August 9, four days before their wedding.

Russell says he was desperate for money because he'd just lost his job and lost a $1,000 deposit after his reception hall abruptly closed down.

Sgt. Jeff Bezce says the couple clearly expected to get more money than they got from the scrap where they sold the copper.

Russell tells WPXI-TV he will pay for the damages. Utility officials say it will cost about $400 to repair the 18 poles that were damaged.

Metal thefts reported in Spokane Valley

Here's a dispatch from Sgt. Dave Reagan:

Copper tubing valued at $700 was stolen this week from a railroad engine parked in the 11000 block of East Sprague, the owner reported to Crime Check.

The victim said he is modifying the engine to be a railroad education center and that the tubing supplied water to restrooms located inside the railroad engine.  He said he knew of no potential suspects.

Anyone with information should call Crime Check at 456-2233.

And on a Related Note…

A representative of AT&T Mobile reported the theft of copper ground cable from a cellular tower site in the 2600 block of North Robie Thursday.

The thief cut a hole through security fencing and stole the roll containing 200 feet of cable which was valued at $2,000 to $3,000.

Anyone with information….

Police recover $10k+ in stolen tools

More than $10,000 in stolen tools was recovered from a Spokane Valley storage unit today.

Detective Mark Renz believes the tools were stolen by Todd E. Hickman, 45, of Spokane, who was arrested Aug. 28 after police found him inside a vacant home looking for copper wire to steal, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Hickman was released after charges weren't filed within 72 hours, but a felony burglary charge was filed in connection with the case Thursday.

Detectives also have probable cause to arrest Hickman for second-degree burglary after a search today at the Spokane Mini-Warehouse in the 4500 block of East Trent Avenue revealed $10,000 to $15,000 worth of tools, including rolling tool cabinets, stolen from Acme Machine Works, 60121 E. Sharp Ave., on Aug. 1, police said.

  

Suspected metal thief arrested w/ meth

A 47-year-old man was arrested with methamphetamine early today after a citizen told police he'd tried to take metal from business in Spokane Valley.

John F. Couch was spotted picking up metal from a property in the 500 block of North Ella Road, where several businesses are located. A witness told deputies that thief was scouring metal left outside the businesses just after midnight today and had ridden away on a bike while dragging something metal.

Spokane County sheriff's Deputy Michael Wall said Couch refused commands to show his hands, so Officer Juan Rodriguez arrived and the two got Couch to lie on his stomach. Rodriguez noticed him place something under his bike tire and determined it was a small baggie of methamphetamine.

Couch has a 26-year criminal history. He was booked into Spokane County Jail on count of possession of methamphetamine.

Sgt. Dave Reagen headlined a news release about the incident, “Thief Makes a Meth of Things.”

Thieves target Avista power lines

Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:

Overhead lines that return unused power to Avista have been targeted by metal thieves since late August, a company employee reported Monday.

Since Aug. 22, a suspect has stolen more than one and a half miles of #6 copper for a loss exceeding $18,000.  The company has been replacing the stolen copper lines with aluminum wire which is less expensive.

The employee said the return cable is the lower of the two lines on the power poles and that the suspect pulls the line down and then cuts it closest to the pole.   

The thefts are risky business. Although the line is usually not powered, it can be at any time and the thief would have no way of knowing if it is charged or not.

The most recent theft occurred Monday in the 20600 block of North Hazard Road.  Crews had just replaced the line at midnight and it was discovered missing again at 6 a.m.

Anyone with information regarding these thefts is encouraged to call Crime Check at 456-2233.
  

Scrapper arrested for Valley burglary

Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:

Officers arrested a 45-year-old Spokane man Sunday after they caught him inside a vacant house apparently looking for copper wire to steal. 

At 1:30 p.m., a man called to report a suspicious vehicle parked behind his mother’s vacant East Broadway home.  Officers Brian Hert and Chan Erdman approached the home and noted “No Trespassing” signs on both the front and back doors.

The two ordered the person they heard inside the home to exit and Todd E. Hickman walked out.  He acknowledged not knowing the owner of the home.

Hert’s investigation revealed that Hickman was on his way to the East Broadway Wal-Mart when he noticed two vacant homes across the street and decided to enter. 

Hert checked Hickman’s truck and found a large amount of copper wire in the back.  He also saw pieces of copper plumbing and a crowbar, hacksaw and other hand tools.

The officer determined that much of the wire had come from a vacant house just east of where they found Hickman.  Although they were unable to contact the owner of that home, they did establish that the suspect had cut and removed the power cord from the home’s electrical dryer.

Hert drove Hickman to the Spokane County Jail and booked him on a single count of Residential Burglary.

Man sentenced for stealing aluminum

COLVILLE – A trusted supervisor whose thefts nearly bankrupted a Colville boat manufacturer was sentenced Monday to six years in prison – two years more than a deputy prosecutor recommended.

Stevens County Superior Court Judge Al Nielson said Chris Boring was “remorseless and relentless” in his theft of 360,799 pounds of aluminum sheet from his employer, Hewes Marine.

“It boggles the mind” that Boring accepted responsibility for investigating the missing aluminum and then selected other employees for layoffs when the thefts and the recession brought the company to its knees, the judge said.

Read the rest of John Craig's story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 4: Metal thefts nearly sink Colville boat firm

Metal thefts nearly sink Colville boat firm

A Colville boat factory nearly went out of business when a trusted supervisor sold an estimated $556,000 worth of stolen aluminum to a Spokane scrap metal dealer.

It took more than three years to catch the thief because he was in charge of the Hewes Marine Co. investigation.

Court documents say Christopher Randall Boring, who was considered an exemplary employee, set up cameras, conducted numerous audits and repeatedly claimed to be baffled.

Read the rest of John Craig's story here.

Felon with copper wire triggers investigation

Detectives are trying to locate the owner of a large amount of copper and aluminum wire seized from a longtime felon last week.

Metal has been increasingly targeted by drug-addicted thieves in the last few years because it can be sold for cash at scrap yards.

So when police found William L. Moore, 44, with gloves, flashlights, saw tools and more than 70 feet of aluminum and copper wire after a traffic stop at Argonne Road and Sinto Avenue on May 4, they figured he was up to something criminal.

Read the rest of my story here.

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