Third man faces charges in copper theft

May 22, 2014
William Howes

A third Clarksville man is in Washington County jail on a probation warrant awaiting arraignment next week for allegedly stealing the copper wire two his friends were trying to pilfer when they were nabbed by state police early Tuesday.

And just like it was the undoing of Robert Teagarden, 34, and Michael Stitchick, also of Clarksville, it was surveillance cameras that helped police catch William Howes, 54, of 2414 Sandy Plains Road, as well as another man in the act.

Howes reportedly loaned Teagarden and Stitchick his car. They drove to the Chesapeake supply yard at 1200 National Pike (Route 40) in North Bethlehem Township. The two activated surveillance cameras about 2:45 a.m. as they were reportedly in the process of stealing 400 feet of copper wire valued at $4,000.

After they were notified by the company’s security office, troopers and police from several local departments converged on the area. They found a Nissan Sentra parked in a pull-off area on Brush Run Road near the intersections of Routes 40 and 519.

Teagarden and Stitchick were found lying in heavy brush and taken into custody. The stolen wire was on a path near where the car was parked.

Police left the wire so the forensics services unit could take photographs of the scene. Company security called police after reviewing surveillance and spotting a brown, Chevrolet pickup truck in the area where the wire was stashed about 8:45 a.m. A man was seen loading the wire into the back of a pickup truck. Police were able to trace the truck back to Howes.

Police talked with Howes Wednesday. He told them he went looking for his car when he saw the wire lying on the trail. He and his acquaintance reportedly took the wire to a location in Clarksville. They burned the wire and took 80 pounds of copper to a scrap yard, where they sold it.

Howes was placed in jail on the probation violation. His is set to be arraigned on charges of theft, theft of property lost or mislaid and receiving stolen property next week before District Judge Curtis Thompson. All three men are scheduled for a June 10 preliminary hearing before Thompson.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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