Copper Thieves Caught in the Act
By WestKyStar Staff
PADUCAH, KY - A pair of Paducah men were arrested Saturday night after being caught in the act of attempting to steal copper from a Paducah business.
Late Saturday afternoon, McCracken County Sheriff's Department deputies responded to a call reporting a theft at 4305 Clarks River Road, which is the location of the Raceway Gas Station that is no longer in business. Upon arrival, they determined that two air conditioners and a refrigeration unit had been tampered with. Deputies noticed that the copper wiring from the building had been cut and that the units had been disconnected from the building, apparently in an attempt to remove the units. One AC unit had been rolled to the end of the building for quicker removal.
Deputies immediately began surveillance of the area, waiting for the perpetrators to return to the site and retrieve the copper and units. Just after 8:00 PM, Deputy Bobby Cook observed a car entering the parking lot. The driver parked the vehicle and shut off its lights, and two subjects exited the vehicle. When the two subjects started to walk behind the building, deputies moved in and approached the individuals. The two men, later identified as 30-year-old Joseph Halbert and 49-year-old Martin Walker, were caught in the act of removing copper wiring from the exterior of the building.
After deputies arrested Halbert and Walker without incident, both men were found to be in possession of specific tools used for the purpose of stealing and removing copper.
Deputies determined that the total amount to replace and repair the damages caused by Halbert and Walker to be in excess of $10,000. They also determined that Walker was under the influence of alcohol, that he had been operating the vehicle while under the influence, and that he did not have insurance on his car.
Halbert was charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking $10,000 or more and Possession of Burglary Tools. Walker was charged with Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Drugs/Alcohol 1st Offense, Failure to Maintain Required Insurance 1st Offense, Theft by Unlawful Taking $10,000 or More, and Possession of Burglary Tools.
Deputies also seized Walker's 2000 Oldsmobile Bravado. Both men were lodged in the McCracken County Jail.