Archive for Saturday, December 11, 2010

Copper thieves take 5,000 pounds of wire

December 11, 2010


Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in solving a reported theft of 5,000 pounds of copper wire from contractors who were working at Westar Energy’s Lawrence Energy Center.

Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s spokesman, said suspects entered the construction site north of Lawrence sometime between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 6:15 a.m. Thursday and stole several items, including hundreds of feet of copper wire and various welding tools and supplies.

Erin La Row, a Westar spokeswoman, said several contractors are at the coal-burning plant, 1250 N 1800 Road, working on environmental upgrades at the plant.

The report lists the victims in the case as Kissick Construction of Kansas City, Mo.; Electrical Corp. of American of Raytown, Mo.; Sterling Boiler and Mechanical of Evansville, Ind.; API Construction Co.; and Westar.

La Row said the thieves were able to cut a chain to a fence and get access to the equipment. She said the contractors incurred a majority of the losses while Westar’s was minimal.

On Friday, several indexes valued copper at slightly more than $4 per pound, making 5,000 pounds worth more than $20,000.

Lewis said sheriff’s officers were still investigating the case Friday and that a cost estimate of the theft was unavailable.

He asked anyone with information to call the sheriff’s office at 785-841-0007 or Douglas County Crime Stoppers at 785-843-TIPS.


bearded_gnome 4 years ago

that's a lot of copper right thar!

and nobody noticed during that period on weekdays? were the workers taking the day off to celebrate King Gustaf's (V) accession to the Swedish throne or what?

jafs 4 years ago

No security at the site?

Seems like a bad idea if you've got lots of expensive materials and equipment lying around.

SuzieQ 4 years ago

Showing your ignorance. Read the article (if you can)

pz5g1 4 years ago

Nobody asks questions when you try to sell 2 1/2 tons of copper?

Jeff Kilgore 4 years ago

It is true that many politicians have had little experience with physical labor, but Obama is not alone in that respect. The "Texas Soufflé" spent more time "cutting brush" than being President, which, in retrospect, is probably the only thing that worked out for him. That is, if somebody cut the brush for him! At least he didn't shoot anyone! It's hilarious to me that you can only see one side of the coin. Your blind spot is enormous--and growing!

pace 4 years ago

My guess is the stuff went East, a contractor could use it. More money for it than scrap but thief don't care how much something is worth but what they can get. I was more surprised they lifted 5000 pounds. Since this is over two tons It wouldn't fit in most pickups, is probably on big spools or pallet packaged. The way this story is written, it makes very little sense to me. The estimate of $4.00 a pound is not the price for even No 1 copper stripped and scrapped. There seems to be some bad guessing or googling rather than reported facts. Very odd story. Looks like they got three lines of info and fluffed it out like high school kid writing a 4 page paper. I might be wrong and this was the info supplied by the sherriff's dept. but odd.

weeslicket 4 years ago

do you remember the plastic fumes as well?

HaRDNoK9 4 years ago

Just curious. How did that work? You have X worth of silver in a bag of silver coin. You cut those coins up into chips. You now have X worth of silver in a bag of silver chips in that bag, right? How was wealth created here?

Khublai_Juan 4 years ago

The profit is made by trimming the edge of the coin and keeping the little bit of silver, then you go and spend the coin as you normally would (for its full accepted value). You build up a lot of these shavings and then sell them to a precious metal dealer, thus making money off of money.

bearded_gnome 4 years ago

uh Jesse, read this part again: Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s spokesman, said suspects entered the construction site north of Lawrence sometime between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 6:15 a.m. Thursday and stole several items, including hundreds of feet of copper wire and various welding tools and supplies.

---not just night time there guy. duration listed is fifteen minutes shy of 20 hours.

that's what made me curious. nobody working that day? nobody at all???

or, inside job?

HaRDNoK9 4 years ago

"Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in solving a reported theft of 5,000 pounds of copper wire from contractors who were working at Westar Energy’s Lawrence Energy Center."

Here it is: You are looking for someone who knows how to run heavy equipment. You are looking for someone who has keys to the heavy equipment owned by one of the contractors on that job site. You are looking for someone with a really big truck.

You know, I once had my GPS stolen right out of my car. You know what help the police offered me? NONE! I get tired of the police asking for the public's help in doing their own jobs for them. I realize that it is not likely that my GPS will ever be recovered, but 2 1/2 tons of anything should be easy enough to track down.

Jock Navels 4 years ago

maybe if you had put a locater chip in your GPS, you would know where it is....sorry, couldn't help myself.

HaRDNoK9 4 years ago

Lol! I know, right???!!!

"Douglas County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in solving the theft of a device that is designed to locate itself."

Icy_Flame48 4 years ago

Uh hello, they probably are traveling around the country doing this. So not as obvious as you might think. Also, do the police and everyone a favor and stop blaming other people for your problems. GPS, lock your door install a security system. Take the GPS out of the car with you instead of leaving it in your car. You will be saving the tax payers money plus you will allow the police to focus serious threats.

blindrabbit 4 years ago

What kind of vehicle used??? 2 1/2 tons plus other items; way too much for pick-up truck; I'm guessing an inside, insurance job!

DillonBarnes 4 years ago

Wow, look at all the armchair detectives here! What's the problem, couldn't pass the obstacle course?

wdl 4 years ago

Doesn't appear to be a crime of opportunity. Probably an inside job. With at least the correct information provided from an inside source. To much stuff taken for one or two people and only a pickup. Heavier equipment required to get in and get out quickly. Now that they have the stuff in a barn or storage unit some where, they can wait for a while and get rid of the stuff in small quanities some distance from here. If they get a dollar a pound its pure profit for the crooks they don't really care what market value is. My question is how many times does this have to happen before the powers that be wake up and spend a little money on security. If its copper or aluminum and just lying there its as good as gone. Completely stupid!

pace 4 years ago

All I got is work experience, but we were taught to think at home. Can't help myself, I can tell the difference between good and poor information coming to me. if some one asked me to move 5000 pounds of copper plus tools. I would need a truck bigger than a pickup. More than one guy. $4. a pound isn't the price for scrap ( probably $1.50 or so, the price for hard wire varies. My guess is the loss figure is more likely above $50,000. The reporter might of googled market price for copper which would be like giving the market price of wheat and calculating that as the price of a stolen cinnamon roll .IF the sheriff wants our help, I am glad to keep my eyes open. I personally would look for a large truck with big spools of wire on it and at least a couple of guys who look like professional electric contractors or workers. If I knew the gauge of wire I could call some contractors and ask them to keep their eyes open. I do wonder what kind of wire, but that might come out later. I don't like thieves. I think the community and law enforcement should work together, It is a good sign the sheriff is asking the community to report anything germane they have seen, heard or know. It would be helpful if the information made more sense. We probably should looking for a truck bigger than a pick up.

bearded_gnome 4 years ago

and, again, nobody was working that day???

so thieves just happen to thieve that day?

DillonBarnes 4 years ago

Someone already replied, but no, apparently no one was working there that day. 10AM is the last time they can account for the copper, so that is the earliest it could have possibly been stolen. Someone below posted some possible reasons. Why would a reporting party claim the last time they saw it was 10AM if they worked the rest of the day? Many many reasonable explanations to this, you didn't stumble on some amazing fact there Einstein.

I guess I'm not as qualified an armchair detective as the rest of you, but I'm not sure why this has to be an inside job. I guess it just makes for a good story. These are criminals, knowing there is copper at a construction site isn't something that requires an in depth knowledge of construction or that location. Anyone who is paying a little attention (like... I dunno... copper thieves) can figure out that copper is probably at that site. Here is a bit of a shocker though, you are right that 5000 lbs is a lot for a pick-up, on one trip. How do you know they didn't make more than one trip. Hell, maybe they did 10 trips in a Toyota Camry.

iLikelawrence 4 years ago

I'm gonna guess meth heads. They're brave enough to cut wire from a pole they would have the guts to take the golden egg... I mean copper egg.

SWJayhawk13 4 years ago

When I saw this headline, that's exactly what I thought. Then again, this sounds a little too well-done to have been done by some tweakers.

audball 4 years ago

Here's a theory as to why "nobody was working that day". The copper was last seen at 10am Wed., a rather unusual time for a shift to end. Suppose the contractors were called away to do an emergency job at another location? Maybe the Tecumseh or Jeffery plant. Contractor supplies are usually placed in an area convenient to the plant, and yet out of the way of everyday plant operations and personnel. Thus a Westar plant employee wouldn't necessarily notice someone in the contractor supply lock-up area. And even if they did, if the person acted confident, acted like they knew what they were doing, the employee wouldn't have reason to be suspicious. And it wouldn't be unusual for a heavy duty truck/trailer/semi/dumptruck/etc. to be moving in and out of the plant/contractor area. Again, no cause for suspicion. So the question is, who knew the contractors would be called away from the plant site at 10am, not to return until the next day? Seems like a rather small pool of people, one of whom either tipped off the thieves, worked with the thieves or was the thief. Any number of people could have known what and where the copper etc was located, from delivery people to suppliers to visitors even. But not many would know that the contractors weren't there after 10am Wed. Assuming of course that they actually weren't there, as per my theory.

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