Man watched as accused copper thief appeared underneath house
PULASKI COUNTY (KATV) —
The central Arkansas area is becoming a common place for arrests of copper thieves, with Pulaski County deputies and K-9 unit setting up a perimeter this week to find a man believed to be responsible for stealing copper from a local business.
Not every case of copper theft involves huge cash gains by the people stealing the valuable wiring, but that can't be said for the amount of damage these criminals cause as they work to get to it.
According to police one man went as far as to crawl underneath a home.
"This is where he got the copper, he climbed up underneath this hole," said Mark Turner with J.R. Ball Contracting in North Little Rock.
Turner said he watched outside his office building -- the same place where someone cut copper from an air conditioning unit the day before - and saw 34-year-old Shawn Haynie from Sherwood, come from around another company owned house.
Next, turner found a backpack full of copper piping at the same place he watched Haynie leave from.
"That's the first thing I thought about, and you know it's been happening in this area for quite some time now, and they haven't been able to catch them," Turner said.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than $1 billion is spent annually to fix damage from copper theft.
"It is a hassle. We have to stop doing our daily routine stuff to deal with thieves," Turner agreed.
What bothers Turner more than the damage, is that the suspects' charges of criminal mischief, criminal trespass and theft of property carry such a low bond.
Turner told Channel 7 he saw Haynie outside his business once again Wednesday.
"It really just bursts my bubble, and especially to see that he's out less than 24 hours later walking right in front of our office again the very next day," he added.
The company estimates at least $5,000 in damage solely to the home it said Haynie crawled out of.
Authorities arrived pretty quickly and started searching for their suspect Tuesday, and later found Haynie hiding in nearby woods, according to the police report. He surrendered before Pulaski County released a K-9.