ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Dougherty County Police make arrests in what they say is the biggest theft in Dougherty County history.
Crooks stole more than a half million dollars worth of metal pipes from an Albany construction company storage yard in February and March.
Six men are now charged with theft in the case. The six men, most from Albany or Lee County, sold the metal for just a little over $10,000. Police caught them red handed taking the pipes, which weighed thousands of pounds each.
This is one of the stolen pipes, known as Duck-O-Line. Construction employees tell us they are mostly made of solid cast iron. Police took pictures March 9th when they caught the theft ring, using huge heavy equipment, taking this one to the salvage yard to sell it.
Dougherty County Police Captain Jimmy Sexton said "They are specially made to be installed in sewage treatment plants and transporting sewage. The reason they are so valuable, is they don't corrode."
The pipe belonged to Alcon construction, and was kept on Willingham Drive in an overgrown storage yard. They got a call saying the pipe was being stolen. Police found these six men loading the pipe on trucks. James Stanton, his son Adrian, and son in laws Blake and Bruce Johnson made it a family theft ring.
Sexton said "they just happened to see the materials there and took the opportunity to just start stealing them. It was over a 3 to 4 week period that they moved all of the material."
The six were selling the pipe to an East Albany salvage yard, and it was there they fooled a trucking company to help them with the theft.
Sexton said "Recruited some individuals and convinced them that they were a legitimate operation, and has some people with heavy equipment go out there and load some of this material and transport it to the recycler."
Police say most of the pipe has been crushed into scrap.
Police say the construction company owner, Al- Con, was undergoing ownership changes at the time of the theft, and had no idea the pipes worth more than one half million dollars had been taken.
Veteran officers say they cannot remember another theft in Dougherty County where the stolen items cost so much or weighed so much.