WARSAW — Four people are facing criminal charges after they were caught stealing and selling copper wire from an abandoned Warsaw building.
Judd Emery Metz, 50, 201 N. Cottage Road, Goshen, is being charged with burglary, a level 5 felony; and theft, a level 6 felony. Metz was arrested on April 16 with a $5,500 surety and cash bond.
Mitchell Dawson, Warsaw; and Kyle Duff, Warsaw, are both facing charges of burglary, a level 5 felony; and theft, a level 6 felony. Allison Foster, Claypool, is facing a charge of aiding and inducing theft, a level 6 felony. All three of these subjects have warrants out for their arrest.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, an officer with the Warsaw Police Department received information regarding burglary and theft occurring at 2525 E. Durbin St., the former Arnolt building. The caretaker of the property advised that subjects were entering the building and stealing copper wire and other metals.
The officer placed surveillance cameras at the building. On Jan. 21, the cameras showed several subjects at the building with their faces covered. One of the subjects was able to be identified as Metz.
On Jan. 24, the officer spoke with Metz, who admitted to entering the building. Metz advised that on the same day he entered the building, he found a lot of copper laying beside Clunette Road, just off of SR 15, and sold that copper. The officer was able to confirm that on Jan. 21, Metz sold $342.05 worth of copper to Lewis Salvage. From November 2018 through January 2019, Metz had sold $907.97 worth of copper and other metals to Lewis Salvage.
The officer then spoke with Dawson and advised him that tools with his name on them were found inside the abandoned building. Dawson admitted that Duff, Metz and he entered the building to strip copper wire. Dawson told the officer that they used tools to remove copper from the pipes and that Duff opened a transformer to get copper and oil spilled. According to Dawson, the trio stripped approximately $10,000 worth of copper from the building over serval months.
On Jan. 28, the officer spoke with Duff, who admitted to entering the abandoned building on several occasions. Duff told the officer that he knew the building was going to be torn down so he wanted to get the rights to remove the scrap from the building. Duff further advised that Lewis Salvage “hassles” him when he tries to sell items to them so he has his girlfriend, Foster, sell the items for him.
The officer then spoke with Foster, who advised that she sold scrap metal to Lewis Salvage for Duff. According to Foster, she did not know where the metal came from. The officer was able to confirm that Foster sold 400 pounds of copper to Lewis Salvage for $1,024 in December 2018. From October through December 2018, Foster sold over $1,900 worth of metals to Lewis Salvage. Lewis Salvage advised that they questioned Foster as to where the copper came from but that she would not answer.