Risky and Illegal job lands men behind bars

Tools used in crime. / Jessica Fairley

Dougherty County Police have arrested two men after they were caught trying to steal copper from irrigation pivots. Authorities say it was an anonymous tip that caused the investigation leading to arrests.

After mapping out their route through the cotton field on Harris Road in Sylvester, Ga., the suspects, whose names have not been released, took a break and returned to the area around 2:00 a.m. to steal copper. The men were armed with a kit of gloves, a hacksaw, and a flashlight when they made their move.

"One of the individuals actually climbed on to the irrigation pivot and the other individual actually had a hacksaw and he was about to hand him the hacksaw while he was up there to cut the wire," said Dougherty County Police Department Sergeant Chad Kirkpatrick.

Authorities say after watching the men in action they had what they needed to make an arrest, which saved the equipment owner, Dennis Champion, over $6000 in damages.

Eric Lavely, owner of Automotive Core Supply Scrap Yard, says no amount of money is worth risking time in jail. However, he says thieves take the chance because copper is worth more than anything else.

At 75 cents per pound of insulated copper, the suspects stood to rake in over $352 for the night and even more if they removed the plastic coating.

Lavely says thieves may get away with wrong doings for a time but eventually greed catches up with them.

"If we have someone who comes in here with a 100 pounds of number one copper, it kind of throws a flag up and we contact the police department and they do an investigation," said Eric Lavely

Authorities say since copper thefts are a problem in Dougherty County and surrounding areas, it's best to cover all bases when trying to catch the criminals.

The men arrested in this case have been charged with criminal intent theft by taking, criminal trespass, and possession of tools for the commission of crimes.

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