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Man Steals Copper For Redemption Fees – Gets Busted

Benjamin Fish
 

Benjamin A. Fish, 38, of the 2000 block of 51st Drive, was charged with felony counts of burglary of a locked enclosed cargo portion of a truck or trailer, theft of movable property between $5,000-$10,000 and criminal trespass to energy provider property.

According to a criminal complaint:

On Sept. 6, deputies were sent to the 2100 block of S. Sylvania Drive for a theft report.

Upon arrival, they met with a man who said he works for Intern LLC which is a company that contracts with We Energies to replace power lines and electrical poles. He arrived at work that morning and noticed multiple rolls of copper wiring were stolen from a large locked storage container. He also noticed a large amount of copper wiring was stolen from the dumpster. In total, over 500 pounds of copper wiring was stolen worth around $16,000. The property stolen is owned by We Energies.

Deputies saw tools hanging from a chain link fence and the barbed wire on top of the fence had been cut off. Behind the fence was a wooden spool of copper wire with half of the wires still on it. The tools hanging on the fence were a hack saw, cobalt saw blades, tin snips and a bolt cutter.

On Sept. 15, an investigator spoke to the man again who said a new piece of copper wire scrap and a single dark-colored slipper were now located at the base of the fence where the entry was made during the theft. Investigators took images of the shoe print in the mud to be analyzed.

The investigator checked with scrap and recycling companies to see if any copper wire had been sold/pawned. It was learned that some had been sold by Fish at Alter Metals Recycling in Racine. He sold 607 pounds of wire for $1,763.

The investigator then spoke with Fish’s roommate who informed him Fish wanted to use his vehicle on Sept. 1 and told him he only needed 10 minutes to get $1,300 to get his own vehicle back after repossession. The roommate said he believed Fish was going to steal copper since he had been doing a lot of copper scrapping lately.

On Monday, a search warrant was executed on a residence on 75th Street in Kenosha where Fish had been staying. Inside was a large number of various wires and tools consistent with wire cutting and stripping. Also inside was a pair of shoes that matched the print found in the mud at the crime scene.

Fish was given a $1,000 cash bond in Racine County Circuit Court on Wednesday. A preliminary hearing is on Oct. 6 at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, online court records show.

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