Copper Thefts Caught On Camera, One Of Two Suspects In Custody

LEFLORE COUNTY (KFSM) — One man is in custody and another is still on the loose after police said they stole thousands of dollars worth of copper from two public utilities.

“We’re trying to supply water for most of the county, and they came in here taking stuff we use to make the water, and they don’t think twice about it,” James Morrison said.

Morrison is the manager of the Wister Lake Water Treatment Plant. He said last week, he noticed some copper missing, so he bought surveillance equipment that caught the suspects on camera.

“My luck, they came back Monday morning around 5 o’ clock, and I got some pictures of them,” Morrison said.

He said the suspects drove their pickup truck up a dirt road behind the plant, to a chain link fence. They found the copper wire inside a metal warehouse, attached the wire to a chain on the back of their truck, dragging it down the road.

“It’s all got the coating dragged off of it, so it’s not going to be usable,” Morrison said.

Investigators said the thieves also came back around 2 a.m. Tuesday (Aug. 15). They said 21-year-old Jon Elliot tried to pawn off some copper at the recycling plant in Howe. They tipped off police who took Elliot into custody.

“They caught him at the recycling plant trying to sell that stolen copper and stuff,” Sheriff Rob Seale said.

The LeFlore County Sheriff’s Office is still looking for Elliot’s alleged accomplice. They say they believe the men stole at least 1,500 pounds of copper in all, worth at least $10,000.

“It’ll be a grand larceny, which will be a felony,” Seale said.

Investigators said they believe the two men are also responsible for stealing the majoring of the copper at an OG&E substation on Tarby Road in Poteau.

If you have any information on who the other suspect might be, call the LeFlore County Sheriff’s Office.