WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction Journals, biographies, memoirs, etc.


Copper Thief Dies

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 03-15-2007, 08:48 AM
starrwriter's Avatar
starrwriter (Offline)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 4,280
Thanks: 0
Thanks 4
Default Copper Thief Dies


(HONOLULU ADVERTISER) -- A suspected copper thief trespassing on a military housing construction site near Honolulu International Airport died last night after a shock and a fall from a utility pole.

Witnesses told paramedics that the man fell about 40 feet from a pole near the fenceline after receiving an electrical shock shortly before 9 p.m., said city Emergency Medical Services spokesman Bryan Cheplic.

The man was taken in critical condition to The Queen's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Cheplic said. The man is believed to be in his 50s, Cheplic said.

Police found some cut copper wiring near the man.

Copper theft is a growing problem in Hawaii and nationally. A series of thefts here of copper wiring, copper plumbing and other copper materials have cost the state Department of Transportation more than $300,000 in just 18 months and left miles of freeways in the dark.


Someone was bound to die sooner than later. There are so many desperate homeless people in the islands a growing number have turned to this dangerous form of theft for cash to rent an apartment. Some would rather risk dying than continue to live on the streets indefinitely.

__________________
"The earth was made round so we can't see too far down the road and know what is coming." -- Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-15-2007, 09:21 AM
gary_wagner
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

It's happening here too. We had a homeless man who was electrocuted when he tried to pull live copper wires out of underground conduits. These people live in the sewer system by day and come up out of the ground at night to steal metal to salvage where ever they can find it. Then we have the "manhole murders" recently here in South Bend as detailed below:

2 charged in manhole murders

One confesses to planning the killings of 4 men.


MICHAEL WANBAUGH
South Bend Tribune Staff Writer


SOUTH BEND -- Relatives with watery eyes stood in the background Saturday morning, much like they have done the past three weeks while police searched for the killers of the men they loved.

They stood together, clutching hands in some cases, as St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak announced that two men have been arrested and charged with the murders of the four men found in manholes last month.

Daniel J. Sharp, 56, and Randy Lee Reeder, 50, were both arrested Friday night, Sharp here in St. Joseph County and Reeder in Berrien County.

Both men face four counts of murder in the deaths of Michael "Shan" Nolen Jr., 40; Michael Lawson, 56; Jason Coates, 29; and Brian G. Talboom, 51.

"I wouldn't say it's a relief," said Michael Nolen, father of Nolen Jr., "because nothing will bring these men back.

"We knew these guys were working around the clock on this thing and had all the confidence in the world that they would solve it."

The four victims and two defendants were all homeless. All six were known to live occasionally in an abandoned building at 604 S. Scott St. near Coveleski Stadium and the Norfolk Southern train tracks.

The bodies of Nolen and Lawson were found Jan. 9 in a manhole near the abandoned building.

The bodies of Coates and Talboom were found three days later in a manhole about 75 yards away from where the first bodies were found.

According to an affidavit in support of probable cause, Sharp confessed to police Friday that he and Reeder had planned, then carried out the murders during the week leading up to Christmas, sometime between Dec. 18 and 21.

The motive, according to the affidavit, was Sharp and Reeder believed the four victims had stolen metal scrapping items they had saved to sell.

Metro Homicide police first interviewed Sharp on Wednesday. He confirmed knowing the victims and at one time living in the building, but denied involvement in the murders.

It turned out to be a valuable interview for police.

"First thing we noticed," said Tim Corbett, commander of the county's metro homicide unit, "was the boots that Mr. Sharp had on matched some forensic evidence we had from that building."

Reeder was interviewed for the first time Thursday, and also said he had lived in the building and knew the victims.

On Friday, police contacted Sharp again. Sharp was asked to take a lie detector test to confirm he had not been involved in the murders. He agreed, but broke down and admitted involvement in the murders during the pre-polygraph interview, Corbett said.

According to the affidavit, Sharp told police the following:


That Talboom and Lawson had left the building approximately 7 a.m. one morning to have breakfast. At that time he and Reeder went to a room in the building where they knew Coates and Nolen were sleeping.

That armed with a hammer-type weapon, Sharp struck Nolen with it, killing him. Reeder struck Coates with a pipe, killing him.

That the two men then went down the stairs to a side room and waited behind doorways for Talboom and Lawson to return.

That as Talboom and Lawson re-entered the building, he struck Talboom in the back of the head with the hammer, and that Reeder struck Lawson with the pipe.

That he and Reeder left the bodies in the building for several days before returning Dec. 26, 2006, the day after Christmas. The two removed the bodies and hid them in the nearby manholes.

That he and Reeder removed clothes worn during the killings, put them in bags and later threw them in the St. Joseph River, along with the murder weapons.

After taking the confession, police say they walked Sharp through the building on Scott Street.

"(Friday night around 6 p.m.) the metro homicide techs from the office walked Mr. Sharp through the building," Corbett said. "Pretty much everything he said was confirmed from what we knew from forensic evidence we had collected in that building."

Sharp remains in the St. Joseph County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. Monday in St. Joseph Superior Court.

Reeder remains in the custody of the Berrien County Jail pending extradition to Indiana. That could take as long as 30 days if Reeder chooses not to waive extradition.

Dvorak declined to say whether or not Reeder has admitted involvement in the murders.

It's been a very difficult few weeks for the families of the victims.

Beverly Karczewski, mother of victim Michael Lawson, praised police on their handling of the case, as did prosecutors.

"I was very pleased that they found out so fast," Karczewski said. "I just have to commend the police department for the job they have done on a very horrendous duty."

At Hope Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter the four victims frequented, Blackie Fincher sipped hot chocolate, nibbled on a sugar cookie and reminisced about his four lost friends.

He said the arrests represent a burden lifted off the city's shoulders, especially for the homeless community.

"I got real shaky when I heard," Fincher said. "My eyes got real teary. Even me, I get real choked up now and then. Thank God, it's finally over."
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-15-2007, 12:36 PM
starrwriter's Avatar
starrwriter (Offline)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 4,280
Thanks: 0
Thanks 4
Default

Murder, mugging and rape occurs among homeless people in Hawaii as well. Some lose their sense of humanity after years of living on the streets and being treated like lepers by "respectable" residents. State officials talk a lot about solving the homeless crisis, but they haven't done much so far.
__________________
"The earth was made round so we can't see too far down the road and know what is coming." -- Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-16-2007, 07:47 AM
starrwriter's Avatar
starrwriter (Offline)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 4,280
Thanks: 0
Thanks 4
Default

(HONOLULU ADVERTISER) -- Police said they may have uncovered a major copper theft ring yesterday when they arrested three people under a freeway overpass near the airport and found stripped wire insulation from what was about 10,000 pounds of copper worth more than $20,000 on the black market.

"I expected to see some wiring, but this was unbelievable," said police Sgt. David Yomes, who made the arrests.

Yards and yards of thick, black wire insulation were found, with the copper inside gone. Yomes said it appears it came from wiring stolen from freeway light poles in Central and West O'ahu, darkening those stretches of road.

"I was very much surprised by the volume," said Yomes, a 25-year Honolulu police veteran whose night patrol sector covers the freeway interchange.

Yomes was led to the cache when he tracked down a homeless woman who was a witness to Tuesday's accident that killed a suspected copper thief.

Yomes found the woman under the H-1 freeway westbound onramp, stripping copper wiring with two men.


Notice where the copper thieves were living: under a freeway. That's because they couldn't afford the most expensive rents of any city in the U.S. -- at least not until they sold the stolen copper. Even then $20,000 would have paid the rent on cheap studio apartments for three people for only 6 or 7 months.

Several expensive big cities on the Mainland have rent controls to protect the poor from homelessness, but this is considered a dirty word in the islands, where out-of-control real estate speculation makes a few people rich at the expense of thousands of poor people who can't afford the price gouging.
__________________
"The earth was made round so we can't see too far down the road and know what is coming." -- Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-16-2007, 06:16 PM
daisyjac's Avatar
daisyjac (Offline)
Scribbler
Official Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 29
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

we've had a spate of copper theft in Melbourne, Australia too. People were stealing copper from train lines and stations etc. very dangerous - a young guy died.
__________________
daisyjac
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-28-2007, 09:11 PM
riverstone's Avatar
riverstone (Offline)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 2,972
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Send a message via MSN to riverstone
Default

We have donated tons of cabling - I guess we should have kept it to sell - I wonder who buys such stuff as stripped wire?

But again starrwriter, this isn't basically your piece so it belongs in the cafe not here in draft.
Kit
__________________
If I did not tell you all the changes you might consider, I would be doing you a disservice, treating you with less than the full respect you deserve. This much I have learned from my years teaching and mentoring writers.

Riverstones let the water flow around them.

Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Non-Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Copper Thieves starrwriter Non-Fiction 0 02-23-2007 06:16 AM
Day that Thatcher dies. Johnny Too Bad Writers' Cafe 1 09-12-2006 09:37 AM
Copper Nickel Jay Writing Markets 0 06-16-2006 10:26 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:19 AM.

vBulletin, Copyright 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.