Douglas workers nab copper thieves in the act - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Douglas workers nab copper thieves in the act

February 21, 2008

Douglas -- For the past year, copper thieves have made their way into the back lot of Miller Pump and Electric in Douglas.

"They cut them a hole in the fence behind an old drilling rig. They basically had beat them a path where they were coming in and out at night," says owner Timmy Miller whose business lost between $20,000 and $30,000 in copper wire over the past few months.

Over time, the thieves became so at ease with their thefts, that they even hid their own supplies on the property to aid them with the heists. And while Miller began storing the wire in a warehouse, the thieves would still go after whatever they could get their hands on. So Miller devised a plan.

"They had broke in already a couple of times this week. So we decided to let some of our employees stay out here last night. They actually got here and set up about 8:30 last night," he said.

Employees Bo Porter, Allen Weldon, and Chris Cato didn't have to have wait very long for the would-be thieves to walk into something they weren't expecting.

"Two of them come through the fence, and we kind of duck down hiding. And they come through this way and they started walking behind the rig, and that's when we caught them," said employee Bo Porter.

With no where to go, the trespassers could only lie on the ground and wait for the police to arrive.

"After officers arrived we discovered that employees had apprehended some suspects who were on the property," said Detective Antonio Ward with the Douglas Police Department.

So far Douglas Police have charged William Jeremy Gillespie, Justin Lee Taft, and Troy Lewis Smith, all of Douglas, with criminal trespass, but more charges could be pending.

As for Timmy Miller's employees, well they're probably looking for an early bonus.

Douglas Police say that while business owners have the right to protect their property, they should always use caution and call the police in the event of a break-in.

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