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Guard locked in shed during copper theft

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  • Guard locked in shed during copper theft

    Three armed men stole copper from a mine site after threatening the guard and locking him in a shed, police say.
    Boone County deputies were called to a remote Elk Run Mining Co. site off Prenter Road about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday after a security guard said three armed men locked him in a shed and made off with copper wire.

    “This is probably one of the more violent ones we’ve had in a while,” Boone Sheriff Rodney Miller said today. “It’s probably the most brazen, the most direct contact that we’ve had for quite some time.”

    The men were wearing ski masks, the guard told deputies. The men jumped him while he was sitting in the guard shack. They brandished handguns and possibly knives, Miller said.

    “I’m not sure if they thought the place was unoccupied and they just stumbled onto the guy or not,” Miller said. “Or that once they were there, they found themselves in a position where they threatened him. I don’t know.”

    Miller said once their weapons were out, the men ordered the guard to show them around the site, which is a service entrance to one of the company’s mines. The men then locked the guard in a small storage shed, police said.

    The guard was trapped in the shed for about 45 minutes until a man hunting for ginseng in the woods came upon the shed and let the guard out. The guard then radioed another security station and asked someone there to call authorities.

    As an aside, Miller said he didn’t think ginseng is in season right now, so the ginseng hunter might be in a little hot water of his own.

    Miller said the guard, whose name has not been released, is in his 20s.

    “He was shaken up, but he didn’t appear to be hurt,” the sheriff said.

    The armed men made off with some scrap copper wire that previously had been cut, Miller said. The guard told police they were also asking about methane detectors and some other mining equipment that could easily be carried off.

    Deputies were looking into a few suspects Wednesday night and planned to follow up today, Miller said.

    “They fit the description of some other people we’ve had before,” Miller said.

    If the men are caught, they could face charges of armed robbery and kidnapping, the sheriff said.

    “There are several charges that would have to be considered,” he said.

    Mine sites around the state have become the targets for an increasing number of copper thieves.

    In April, Massey Energy spent $200,000 to send rescue teams into an inactive section of the Stockton mine near Hughes Creek in Kanawha County after two men entered the mine illegally in search of copper.

    Aaron Hudgins, 26, and Ruan Patrick Rucker, 24, were arrested and initially charged with felonies. In a controversial move, Kanawha prosecutors wound up charging the men with misdemeanors and fined them $341 each.

    Massey chief Don Blankenship called the penalties a “slap on the wrist.”

    Copper thieves also have caused problems for telephone service providers.

    Verizon reported earlier this year that copper thefts had led to multiple telephone outages in West Virginia.

    Last year, Verizon reported about 45 incidents of people stealing copper telephone lines and other equipment, causing about 17,000 customers to go without telephone service.

    More than 26,000 feet of copper wire was stolen in 2006, amounting to more than $240,000 in losses, the company said.

    Copper is worth a good deal to the thieves, too. Last year, pure copper was selling for $3 a pound. Scrap copper went for $2 a pound.

    To cut down on the thefts, the state Legislature passed a bill during this year’s legislative session that would have sanctioned scrap metal dealers who don’t ask questions of those bringing them the product.

    But Gov. Joe Manchin ended up vetoing the bill, calling parts of it unconstitutional and “unwise public policy.”

    The bill would have levied fines on dealers who didn’t collect information — like addresses and vital statistics — about the seller and would have jailed repeat offenders.

    Police would have been able to search a scrap metal dealer’s inventory without a warrant during investigations into metal thefts. Utility and railroad officials also would have had the authority to do such searches.

    Sheriff Miller hopes lawmakers will take up the issue again.

    “It would probably help the investigation inasmuch as being able to identify these people,” Miller said. “You’ve got legitimate scrap dealers, and you may have some that are not.

    “But these people that frequent recyclers, the honest guy, they’re not going to care if they have to identify themselves.”

    Contact writer Justin D. Anderson at [email protected] or 348-4843.

    http://www.dailymail.com/story/News/...-copper-theft/
    Its not how we die that counts.....
    Its not how we lived that counts....
    all that matters is how we saved that one life that one time by being in the right place at the right time....

  • #2
    Well ain't that great... Get jumped, have a gun or two put in your face, then be forced to be a tour guide and locked up after, then the guy who frees you is possibly going to be charged for out of season hunting for Ginseng? Now that's a lousy day at the office if I've ever heard one.

    All kidding aside, I have heard/read many stories lately of copper thieves using various and incredibly stupid means of getting there loot, aside from the usual swiping of coiled copper wire, some are even climbing up hydro poles and cutting live wires. Not entirely surprising considering the market value of copper has been hovering around the higher than normal $3.40-$3.50/Lb mark for the past six months.

    For those of us who are at risk for this kind of property loss, it is important to perform extra patrols and add new cameras posting them near both storage of wire and gates in the more secluded areas are a must. Also keep in mind that most thieves after stealing wire will burn the wire to strip it, as far as corporate/company investigators go, make it a point to have a good rapport with the local scrap dealers if you don't already.
    I'm the guy you don't want to be around when your doing something wrong, but you can't wait for me to get there when your down, to fix you up...

    If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.

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    • #3
      There's a "season" for ginseng? I thought it was a plant!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by wilrobnson View Post
        There's a "season" for ginseng? I thought it was a plant!
        Go figure eh? I thought it only grew in Asian countries, guess I need to brush up on my herbatoligy
        I'm the guy you don't want to be around when your doing something wrong, but you can't wait for me to get there when your down, to fix you up...

        If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JB diligence View Post
          Go figure eh? I thought it only grew in Asian countries, guess I need to brush up on my herbatoligy
          I have some elderly relatives in southern Indiana that make money collecting, drying and selling Ginsing. Grows well in the hills.

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