Police investigating copper thefts

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, July 19, 2014

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The Decatur Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying the people responsible for recent copper thefts in town.

Theft Suspect

THEFT SUSPECT – Decatur police released this photo showing one of the suspects in the theft of copper from Wise Electric Co-op. Submitted photo

Thefts occurred at Wise Electric Co-op July 11 and July 14. Sgt. Gerald Wright said suspects cut the Co-op yard’s fence sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. on those dates. He also believes there were at least two people involved.

Wright said the suspect vehicle appears to be a recent model (’10 to ’13) Camaro. Investigators released two surveillance photos, one of a suspect walking through the parking lot and another photo that shows the suspect vehicle.

If you have information related to this incident, call Decatur Police Department at 940-627-1500 or call Wright at 940-393-0310.

While copper thefts in town might be a rare occurrence, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said copper thefts are common at oilfield sites around the county. The thefts typically increase along with the price of copper. Currently, copper sells for about $3.20 a pound.

“At the oilfield sites, they’ll tie on to a breaker box with chains and wherever it breaks loose, they’ll strip the wire,” Walker said. “If you do that four or five times, you might get several hundred pounds.”

Many businesses who buy or recycle metal now require, in some instances, the buyer to provide a copy of their driver’s license to keep on file. Purchases can also be included on a database that can be searched by law enforcement who are trying to track down those responsible for copper thefts.

Walker said local businesses who deal in buying or selling copper have cooperated with law enforcement.

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