WARSAW — Two St. Joseph County men were arrested after stealing more than $2,000 of scrap metal from a Warsaw business.
Thomas Earl Kollars Jr., 43, 532 Kamm Island Place, Mishawaka, is charged with corrupt business influence, a level 5 felony; theft, a level 6 felony; theft and resisting law enforcement, both class A misdemeanors; unlawful use of a police radio, a class B misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a class C misdemeanor.
Jeffrey Allen Logan, 52, 222 S. Chicago St., South Bend, is charged with corrupt business influence, a level 5 felony; theft, a level 6 felony; and theft, a class A misdemeanor.
On July 15, a Warsaw Police officer went to Collier’s Heating and Air Conditioning regarding a theft report. The store’s manager told the officer that scrap metal had been stolen.
The manager said Collier’s stores its scrap metal behind the store. According to court documents, employees noticed a 55-gallon drum containing cut-up copper coils was missing. One employee reported that on July 8, he was working late when he saw a man walking behind the store.
When the man saw an employee was there, he ran to his vehicle and drove away from the area.
The next day, the same employee reported to the manager that he saw the same man parked in the area and took a photo of the suspicious person. The photo was provided to law enforcement.
On July 19, the Warsaw officer was notified that more scrap had been taken from Collier’s over the weekend. After this incident, Collier’s staff authorized the Warsaw Police Department to install cameras in the area where the scrap metal was stored. Collier’s manager estimated the total value of the scrap taken was over $2,000.
On July 22, a Warsaw Police detective reviewed surveillance video from the cameras that were installed. The video showed that earlier on July 22, a white box truck drove onto Collier’s property, left the area, then returned about 10 minutes later and parked near the scrap metal. A man is shown exiting the driver’s side of the vehicle, lifting the truck’s gate and loading several pieces of scrap metal into the vehicle.
On July 26, the detective was conducting surveillance in the early morning hours at Collier’s when he saw a white box truck park near the scrap metal piles. The detective saw two men exit the truck and begin to put scrap metal into the vehicle.
As more officers arrived at the scene, one of the individuals began running from the area. The individual, later identified as Kollars, was stopped and placed into custody.
The detective met up with an officer who had the second suspect, later identified as Logan, in custody.
Logan admitted to stealing scrap metal from Collier’s at least three previous times. He said Kollars rents vehicles and drives to locations in Warsaw to steal metal. After taking the metal, Logan said the two take the items to an area in South Bend to sell them.
When asked about the incident on July 22, Logan said he was the only one that got out of the truck but that Kollars was with him at that time.
Kollars admitted to stealing scrap metal from Collier’s about three our four times. He said that the week prior, they were given about $560 for the metal they stole and $390 for the copper. Kollars also said that both he and Logan used methamphetamine prior to arriving in Warsaw, and that there was a glass methamphetamine pipe inside the truck.
Kollars also told the Warsaw detective that Logan stole a 100w power inverter from the Speedway gas station in Pierceton. Officers found the inverter inside the truck’s cab. Surveillance video from Speedway showed Kollars distracting a cashier, enabling Logan to steal the inverter.
Officers later learned that Kollars’ cellphone had a police scanner app open on it. The app was actively broadcasting the Kosciusko County Dispatch Communications channel.
Kollars and Logan have already been arrested and released on bond. They both have initial hearings at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 30.