Theft charges issued in scrap metal case

Two men turned themselves in to face charges connected with the theft of copper wire, but Michigan State Police are still searching for a third man believed to have been involved. At least one of the men who turned himself in has denied the allegations, telling the press he didn't touch the wire and he didn't sell it, though a police report indicates he may have admitted involvement.

The wire in question was stolen from some Grand Junction power lines in March. Authorities report that the 540 feet of copper wire was sold for scrap a few days later in Grand Rapids. According to documents from the company that purchased the wire, one of the men alleged to have stolen it sold more than $115,000 worth of wire between June 2014 and February 2015.

The two men who turned themselves in have been charged with felony larceny and malicious destruction of property. The utility company allegedly victimized in the case claims that one of the men stole wire from a former employer and the police report says the same man has previously been responsible for $4,000 in damages after knocking down power lines. The 540 feet of stolen wire in this case knocked out power to parts of Van Buren County.

Statements made to police and other government officials may be used against defendants at trial. In a case like this one, where an individual faces theft charges, a criminal defense attorney may be able to argue against the admissibility of a confession or other evidence. If authorities violate a defendant's constitutional rights during the interrogation process, for example, a confession resulting from the interrogation may not be admissible at trial.

Source: WWMT, "New information in state investigation into copper wire theft", April 1, 2015