The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

April 16, 2013

Local man, woman jailed for stealing copper wiring from Elkhart building

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Two suspects remain in the Anderson County Jail Monday after being caught burglarizing a building in Elkhart on Saturday morning.

According to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor, ACSO Deputies Jeff Taylor and Johnny Gorden responded to a call for a possible burglary in progress in the 500 block of U.S. 287 in Elkhart at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

“The deputies went around the building (a residence) and saw a door to an outbuilding pried open,” Taylor said. “They heard some noises and entered the building, where they found the suspects, Jeffrey Edward Allen, 27, and Ashlei Dyana Wright, 30, inside the building pulling and stripping wire.

“They had tools on them, and the motorcycle they arrived on was in the building with stripping tools on it as well.”

The pair were charged with burglary of a building, with bond set at $20,000 each.

Taylor praised the citizen caller who alerted officers to the crime in progress, stating that the suspects might not have been caught otherwise.

“The reason officers responded to the scene so quickly was because the person that called it in saw something unusual and alerted us to it,” he said. “We need more people to help us by doing that.”

The sheriff also reported that the theft of copper is an ongoing problem due to its value when sold at recycled metal operations.

“Those businesses are supposed to keep records of those who sell the copper, which helps in finding out who the thieves are,” he said. “But even that system has flaws.

“Copper theft goes in spells,” he added. “It brings in quite a few cents per pound, and the end result for criminals like these is usually to purchase drugs."