T'ville police cracking down on copper thefts - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

T'ville police cracking down on copper thefts

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Whether it is taken from homes, businesses, or even farms, copper theft continues to burden south Georgians.

In the first two weeks of July, copper downspouts were removed from the South Georgia Neurological Institute in Thomasville.

In response, Thomasville Police set up patrols. "In patrolling and checking all businesses and vacant businesses and buildings to ensure that these thefts do not occur. If so we may try to catch these people in progress," said Lt. Eric Hampton.

On the first night of the stepped-up patrols, officers saw two people back at the Institute loading more copper components into a truck. "A pursuit was initiated after the suspect refused to stop for the officers," said Hampton.

The thieves got away, but the driver of the vehicle was identified as 37-year-old Keith Ivey. Ivey was found the next day at his girlfriend's Teddy Street home.

Ivey admitted that his teenage son was with him during the theft. Police say there may be other suspects involved. "We're already looking at suspects that we have in custody to ensure, compare, and to make sure they're not involved in other crimes that have taken place," said Hampton.

Investigators say scrap metal companies are required to keep records of every thing they buy. "We realize it's hard for the scrap metal businesses who buy these items to know where they are coming from," said Hampton.

Police say they are going to continue with their proactive patrols. They will monitor old structures, businesses, and residential areas.

Ivey, who is charged with multiple thefts, was denied bond and remains behind bars at the Thomas County Jail.

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