Police catch suspected copper thieves red-handed

March 15, 2012 10:22:22 AM PDT
Houston police nabbed suspected copper crooks and helped local business owners get back what is rightfully theirs. Police say they caught a group of copper thieves red-handed Thursday morning. While on patrol, officers say they came across the men unloading a trailer full of stolen copper. One man is now in jail, but three others remain on the run.

It's a busy day at Electrical Redesign Company Incorporated on Lockwood at Armour in east Houston, and unfortunately, it was even busier overnight.

Manager Clifford Coleman said, "We had a break-in about 1:45 this morning at our business."

The manager tells us four thieves broke in -- hauling $50,000 in copper wiring and scraps across the warehouse on a company forklift, then pushing it out the window. Houston police caught them a few miles away, as they were unloading it into two storage trailers in a northeast Houston neighborhood.

The trailers were well-equipped with a scale. Coleman tells me that would conveniently weigh the wire for sale. Just hours after it was stolen, Coleman was able to haul the copper scrolls back to the business.

He said, "It's sad that, you know, your business had to be broken into and taken merchandise from. It kind of hurts the business."

Those thieves ran when police arrived, and only one was arrested, but Coleman tells me the business has been hit before, and this time they were watching.

"We're going to go back and look at our surveillance camera and identify," Coleman said. "We got all four of them on camera."

The surveillance video should help. It helps, too, that the police recovered the material quickly, but still Coleman says his work now will include cleaning up after those thieves and he's still concerned about next time.

Three of the suspects got away. But the one who was arrested fought with the officer, injuring the officer's hand. Ultimately, the officer had to deploy his Taser.