Archive for Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two Topeka men arrested on suspicion of stealing copper from Farmland Industries

Sheriff's deputies found one suspect on the Farmland Industries land and later found one walking down K-10.

August 31, 2010


Douglas County Sheriff’s officers have arrested two Topeka men suspected of stealing copper from the former Farmland Industries plant Tuesday night.

Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s spokesman, said deputies patrolling the property east of Lawrence, at 1608 N. 1400 Road, on foot encountered two men who ran away from them. Deputies caught one suspect, and picked up the other man about three hours later when he was walking next to Kansas Highway 10. Deputies collected evidence indicating the men were attempting to steal copper wire, Lewis said. According to court documents, the suspects attempted to cut wires at an outlet box.

Douglas County prosecutors Tuesday charged the two men, Brian Bragdon, 36, and Ryan Schwinn, 19, with one count each of obstruction, criminal trespassing and theft, all misdemeanor charges.

Lewis said deputies were patrolling the former Farmland plant because of several recent electrical wire thefts.

Lawrence police have taken several reports of copper thefts from air-conditioning units at businesses this summer in the city, and Lewis said rural property owners, farmers and businesses in the county have had problems as well.

Several county cases have involved thefts from electrical contractors’ vehicles or wiring on field equipment for farmers, he said.

“Theft of copper is not only obviously illegal, it is also quite dangerous,” Lewis said. “Copper thieves run the real risk of electrocution when stealing wire and chemical contamination when stealing pipe and tubing.”

Lewis said he was not aware of the two men arrested overnight being suspects in other cases. But he also said suspects usually leave little evidence behind in burglary, theft and criminal damage cases, often making them difficult to solve unless they are stopped in progress.


blue73harley 7 years, 8 months ago

How much longer before we build that moat?

DillonBarnes 7 years, 8 months ago

We would, but all the wiring in the machines was stolen!

Practicality 7 years, 8 months ago

The moat idea got shot down. It wasn't considered "New Urbanism" so NW Lawrence wouldn't allow it.

Alabamastreet 7 years, 8 months ago

The cop-ers caught the coppers. Good job. Word is they had their pet Topeka deer with them too, and the Lawrence sign was in their trunk.

BruceWayne 7 years, 8 months ago

so tax dollars we dont have being spent to foot patrol the Amyx property? NICE!

Kris_H 7 years, 8 months ago

They had to come to Lawrence, they already stole all the copper out of Topeka.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

Claude Cooper copped some copper clappers?

newmedia 7 years, 8 months ago

All the government jobs in Topeka filled?

easyliving 7 years, 8 months ago

All the government jobs in Topeka are filled but the Recycle companies are hiring full time with a $1000 sign on bonus, 401k and three weeks vacation first year. Former Meth addicts are encouraged to apply.

sciencegeek 7 years, 8 months ago

Copper thefts are up everywhere, so why are the recyclers buying all of it? From what I've heard, the buyers are being less than cooperative with the police. They have to know a lot of it's stolen. As long as there's a market, thieves will keep stealing.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 8 months ago

so, with the "work" these two diligent Topekans ere doing in today's economy, houldn't we now put up one of those very lame Obama-American recovery ... Act signs at old Farmland? just askin'

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