Copper thefts continue to be a problem -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Copper thefts continue to be a problem

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BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - Copper thefts have been reported all across the state. Homes, businesses, and even farms have fell victims to these crimes.

A Decatur County Sheriff's investigation into a copper theft resulted in three arrests Monday, two of which were for drug offenses.

Police say 21 year old Robert Sheffield sold about 200 pounds of span wire to Schnitzer recycling plant.

Investigators say these plants are doing their best to prevent this. "They're required by law to obtain a driver's license or some type of valid ID from the individual. They can no longer pay by case they have to pay by check," said Investigator Terry Phillips.

Investigators say the copper is examined by inexperienced workers. "They are the ones physically seeing it. It ain't the manager he's up in there handling deals working on the computer and stuff like that," said Phillips.

Police say this newest rash of copper thefts occurred at farms around Decatur County. The suspects trespass on these farms late at night and remove the wires from the irrigation systems.

One company says there is a way to catch these suspects in the act. "We can zoom it in and actually get their license plate off of their vehicle. That's how good this equipment is," said Decatur County Administrator Tom Patten.

I-Link Technologies released a device that allows farmers to watch every inch of their property 24 hours a day. "We have the capability to do it at night. Infared, night vision even," said Patten.

Investigators continued their investigation and were led to brothers Willie and Albert Perkins. Police stopped Willie and discovered cocaine in his car.

They obtained a search warrant for Albert's home and found a big pot plant behind the home. Investigators do believe the Perkins were involved in the thefts, but they do not have enough evidence just yet.

Willie Perkins is charged with possession of cocaine and Albert Perkins with manufacturing marijuana. Robert Sheffield is charged with theft by taking and criminal damage to property.

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