POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A suspect is being held on a $40,000 bond after stealing that same dollar amount worth of copper from an Oklahoma City work site. Now, deputies are thanking dumb luck and a flat tire for the bust.
“We’re trying to fix the tire, and the whole back of this van is filled full with all this copper wire. Big copper cable,” said a Pottawatomie County deputy on body cam footage.
On Wednesday at 5 a.m., a Pottawatomie County Deputy pulled over to help William Carrell with his van’s blown out tire along Highway 9 in Tecumseh. After running his name through the dispatch’s system, the deputy learned the 46 year old had warrants out for his arrest in Coal and Pontotoc counties.
“Be advised,” said a dispatcher through a radio on the body camera footage. “The one out of Coal County is going to be possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction. He also has a failure to pay, failure to appear for traffic.”
“As they were taking him into custody, they looked in the van. In plain view, there was a large amount of copper cable in the back of this van,” said Lt. Jared Strand with the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office.
Strand said the deputy knew something was off. The cuts in the copper were not clean.
“It looks like somebody used wire cutters to take it or remove it from something,” Strand said. “She knew it was not normal for somebody to have that amount. And the person couldn’t come up with a good excuse as to why he was possessing it.”
“That yellow sticker says ‘high voltage certification.’ This white sticker says ‘25,000 volts,’” said one of the deputies on the body cam video.
In all, deputies said they found several feet of high capacity construction-grade copper wire. According to the incident report, “A search of the van yielded 27 individual sections of sheathed, one-inch, solid copper cable and one wooden spool of bare copper.” The load of metal cashing out to be a $40,000 steal.
“We didn’t know how much that was worth until we contacted the company and they were able to provide us with everything that was missing,” said Strand.
After a few Google searches and phone calls, investigators found the copper wires were recently stolen from an equipment yard in Oklahoma City.
According to the OKC police report, “Sometime over night [the unknown suspect] cut holes in the fence to get into the yard.”
“I believe someone was borrowing your equipment without your knowledge,” said the deputy on the video.
Strand said copper crooks are often hard to track down, but in this case, the suspect fell flat.
“We were able to get a copper thief off the streets all because of a blown tire,” he said.