Copper Theft On The Rise in Archer County

The Archer County Sheriff's office says they have seen an increase in the number of metal thefts, with the most recent offense happening over the weekend.

Sergeant Simon Dwyer of the Archer County Sheriff's office says metal thieves have been taking metal from abandoned homes, pump jacks and cell phone towers.

"One of our deputies was on routine patrol, part of his duties is to check on all the radio towers in the area due to the increase in copper thefts," says Dwyer.

He says it was while the deputy was on patrol that he noticed a truck parked near a cell phone tower appeared suspicious to him so he pulled in behind it.  Two subjects fled on foot.

Jason Williams and Jonathan Leewright were arrested for the attempted theft of 50 pounds of copper from a Choice Wireless cell phone tower.   According to the Sheriff's Office, the men were also in possession of meth and driving a stolen truck.

Dwyer says, "They had coiled up some copper from the facility and were attempting to steal it from the property to take it and possibly sell it for scrap iron, scrap metal."

Dwyer says this weekends case has been all too common in Archer County.

"We've had an increase over the last few years.  They are taking them from abandoned houses.  They are taking copper and brass and all kinds of other stuff from everywhere," Dwyer says.

And he says suspects are often found to be drug abusers,  as was the case on Friday.  "Both subjects admitted to being meth abusers."

Dwyer says the rise in theft has made law enforcement increase the number of patrol units out and keeping an eye on some of the more common areas thefts occur.  "Any of the towers, cell phone towers and pumping units.  It's just an ongoing thing so we are particularly alert and vigilant."

Williams and Leewright are both being held on $50,000 bail.

This weekends theft comes after another recent metal theft back in December.  A large amount of brass tools and fittings were stolen from a water tower in the northern part of the county and later recovered.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6.