By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on July 26, 2006 1:45 PM
Thefts of copper
increase in Wayne
A theft of a copper gas line Tuesday from an abandoned house at 703 Corney St. could have created a dangerous situation, a Goldsboro police official said today.
"If someone had struck a match or started a lawn mower nearby, the house could have been blown up," Maj. M.D. Hopper said.
Fire Department officials said the house was full of gas when they arrived at about 10:45 a.m. The gas line was sealed.
"Stealing the copper pipe and leaving the gas on is irresponsible," Hopper said. "...It could have been a disaster."
The value of the stolen copper was not immediately known.
Copper water pipes were stolen last week from a former doctor's office on West Pine Street. Someone tried to turn the water on, discovered that there was none and later called police.
Goldsboro police also charged a man with unlawful burning after he was seen burning the coating off copper wire, Hopper said.
Police also have seen an increase in the theft of copper coils from air conditioners.
The major noted that copper was becoming so expensive that the government might stop minting pennies, because it costs more than a cent for each one.
Hopper said the police are working with scrap yards to determine if anyone is trying to sell scrap copper and other metals. He urged people not to leave scrap metals outside.
Hopper asked citizens who see suspicious behavior around abandoned buildings to contact police so that they can investigate.
"We don't mind checking, even if someone is renovating an old house," the major said.
A man allegedly stole a license plate before dawn today and then tried to sell it back to the victim for $80, according to a Wayne County Sheriff's Office report.
Douglas William Beets, 47, of Goldsboro also reported the theft of 12 cassette tapes, five silk shirts, prescription medicine and sunglasses, valued at a combined $639.
Beets agreed to meet the suspect at a service station on U.S. 70 West and buy back the plate, the report said. In the meantime, he contacted authorities, and Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Blizzard and Deputy Matt Sasser arrived at the meeting place.
Mark Ryan Paul, 34, of East Ash Street was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of stolen property. He was released from custody on a $500 unsecured bond and faces an Aug. 16 date in District Court.
A passenger was injured and a pickup truck was demolished in a wreck at 2:45 a.m. Sunday on N.C. 55, east of Indian Springs Road, the Highway Patrol said.
Eduardo Alvarez, 21, of Greenville, was treated and released from Wayne Memorial Hospital, a spokeswoman said.
The driver, Jose Verdugo Leon, 18, of Greenville was charged with suspicion of driving while impaired and driving left of center after the truck had run off the left side and struck a mailbox and two trees. The pickup was valued at $6,000.
About $746 worth of jewelry was stolen Tuesday from a home in the 100 block of Spring Branch Road, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office reported.
The resident, P.A. Soucie, reported the theft of five rings, a pendant, earrings and a watch band. The thief had damaged a window to get inside.
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