Deputies stop copper burglary

Published 3:03 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alert sheriff’s deputies halted a burglary in progress on Thursday. The burglars, said Sheriff Kenny Harden, were after one thing: copper.

Deputy Thomas Hallford was on patrol at 10:21 a.m., said Harden, when he noticed a 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass parked in a grassy area off Orange Blossom Rd. Hallford and Deputy Heath Killough waited and minutes later three men emerged from the woods carrying coils of wire.

Deputies arrested two of the men on sight, Terrance Hamilton, 20, and Demetrius Powell, 20, but one of the suspects fled. The suspect, Curtis Mack, 18, was arrested a short time later at the intersection of Kolb City Rd. and Tulip Rd., said Harden.

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The suspects, said Harden, had entered a barn and home on Kolb City Rd. and clipped the plugs from several extension cords – even Christmas lights – stripping the items of copper wiring.

“They were looking for anything they could sell to the recycling place for money as quickly as possible,” said Harden.

Harden said the burglars cut the cords from both the microwave and television set after forcing entry into the home through a backdoor. Harden didn’t know how much the stolen copper was worth, but estimated it at $100, damages to the home and electronics likely exceeding that number, he said.

Law enforcement agencies across the nation have seen a rise in copper thefts over the last few years and Butler County is no exception. Instead of stealing appliances – which can be identified by homeowners – Harden said thieves go after copper to melt down and sell.