Metal theft over holiday

Published 3:52 pm Thursday, January 20, 2011

Metal theft over holiday

By Jeremy Pittari/Item Staff Writer

Several incidents of metal thefts and a few burglaries were reported in Picayune in the month of December and early January.

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Four of the incidents involved the theft of metal products, most commonly copper wire, and three burglaries were also reported.

Thefts of copper wire were reported from the Mississippi Mall, Advance Electric and also one incident in January where new rolls of wire were taken from the area of South Side Elementary where the new cafetorium is being built.

The theft at the Mississippi Mall was reported to police when Mississippi Power employees working on service in the area noticed they were missing about $5,000 to $10,000 worth of copper wire. Deputy Chief David Ervin said reports filed with the department state that the employees called for officer assistance on Dec. 28. The report states the wire must have been taken sometime between Dec. 22, and Dec. 28.

Another report of stolen wire was submitted to the department also on Dec. 28. Ervin said the report states an Advance Electric employee noticed some wire missing from the business on Dec. 18, but when he informed his supervisor the supervisor wanted to ensure another employee simply didn’t move the wire. After talking with the employees and establishing they did not move the wire, a report was filed on Dec. 28, where it was reported that four 350 foot rolls of copper wire were taken. The total value of the stolen wire was $2,000.

On Jan. 10, workers at South Side Elementary reported to the department that 10 rolls of copper wire, worth about $870, was taken some time over the previous weekend. Ervin said the complainant told officers that the suspect must have cut the lock on a storage box where the wire was kept, but the suspect or suspects only took the new wire rolls, not the partial rolls.

Copper wire was not the only metal item stolen during that time. Heritage Oaks, an apartment complex in Picayune, reported on Dec. 27, that four of the large aluminum letters that were part of a sign at the front of the complex were stolen, which consisted of two of the letter “H”, an “E” and a “S”. The letters had a total value of $500, Ervin said.

Two residential burglaries also were reported during December. The first was reported on Dec. 23, where a resident reported a home on South Beech Street was robbed of about $3,400 worth of electronic items and wrapped Christmas presents. Ervin said the report states the victim told officers that when she got home that day she found the rear door to her home had been kicked in and several items were missing. Those items included wrapped clothing and toy gifts for children as well as speakers, a television and two laptops. The report states the suspect or suspects did leave something behind, an unactivated prepaid cell phone.

Another burglary occurred at a rental property on Clark Street and was reported by the property owner on Dec. 29. The victim stated in the report that sometime between Nov. 27 and Dec. 29, someone broke into the empty rental property on Clark Street and removed a washer, dryer, central heating and cooling unit and a white Bible. No signs of forced entry were discovered at the home.

Resurrection Life also was hit during the holidays with a burglary. The incident was reported on Dec. 16, and was believed to have occurred sometime between 9:15 the night before and when church members arrived at 8 the next morning, Ervin said the report states. Investigation into the incident found that the suspect or suspects took two laptops and $250 in cash and gained entry to the church through an unsecured door.

All of the cases are still under investigation, Ervin said.