An Allen County man was charged Wednesday with stealing copper from a railroad property, while police in a northwest Ohio county are searching for whoever stole 30,000 pounds of copper tubing Tuesday.
In the Allen County case, Craig A. Willcutts, 61, of the 800 block of Charlotte Avenue, was charged with theft Wednesday, accused of stealing copper from the Norfolk Southern property near a New Haven lumberyard.
In May, New Haven police observed two pickup trucks behind Home Lumber during the Memorial Day weekend.
An officer thought it was suspicious there were vehicles there with the business closed for the holiday, according to a probable cause affidavit.
When the officer made contact with the three men, they were rolling copper wire onto four spools, and the officer found at least six more spools of copper wire in the bed of one of the trucks, court papers said.
Willcutts told police he helped take the wire off the poles using extension ladders.
The three men were released by railroad police, but the officer told police he would file warrant requests with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, court papers said.
Willcutts is the only one of the three men charged. One of the other men later called railroad police and told them that Willcutts and a third man had no idea they were stealing the copper wire because the caller told them he had permission to take it, the court affidavit said.
Willcutts was released from the Allen County Lockup on his own recognizance after being arrested Wednesday.
In Ohio, Williams County Sheriff’s Office said a trailer with 30,000 pounds of copper tubing was stolen Tuesday from behind the Ramada Inn truck lot at 13508 Ohio 15 in Holiday City, according to a report.
Copper was fetching $2.40 a pound at Upstate Metal Recycling on Bluffton Road on Tuesday. At that rate, the copper stolen from Holiday City could bring $72,000 at a scrapyard.
The Williams County Sheriff’s Office said the theft was reported at 5:57 a.m. and remains under investigation.