Athens Review, Athens, Texas

December 3, 2012

HC Sheriff’s office arrest copper thieves

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens —

   The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office worked multiple cases this week that resulted in arrests for copper thefts from various locations of the county.

   One of the incidents was reported Tuesday at Henderson County Performing Arts Center at 400 Gibson Road in Athens. HCSO reports said dispatch received a call at 9 a.m. from an employee who said a large air-conditioner had been dismantled and part of the contents removed. It was the third recent incident in which A/C condensers were taken from the Prerforming Arts Center property.

  HCSO Investigator Michael Shelley began working the case and was able to identify Walker as a suspect. Shelley obtained a warrant from Justice of the Peace Milton Adams and located Walker at a residence on Joe Prince. The suspect was arrested at the location and transported to jail.

  Twenty-five-year-old Patrick Aaron Walker, was charged with theft of materials (under $20,000), a state jail felony. He remained in custody, Friday, with bond set at $50,000.

  Shelley was assisted on the case by HCSO Investigator Nick Webb and Athens Police Department Detectives Adam Parkins and Michael Reynolds.

    In a separate case, HCSO served an arrest warrant Friday following an investigation into the November 23 theft of copper  wiring and surveillance cameras from a residence on Welch Lane in Gun Barrel City. HCSO dispatched a deputy to the scene, who collected evidence that pointed to a suspect.

  HCSO Investigator Billy J. Valentine gathered additional information that he presented to Pct. 4 Justice of Kelly Harris. Harris issued an arrest warrant for Travis Lee Andre, 19, of Gun Barrel City. Andre was already in jail on charges of failure to indentify as a fugitive  and theft of property. He is awaiting arraignment on the new theft charge.

  Incidents of copper wire and copper based materials theft have risen dramatically in the area over the past several years.  The Associated Press reports that copper theft has risen by more than 150 percent across the nation since 2005.

  According to the Texas Penal Code, state jail felonies, including copper theft, are punishable by anywhere from 180 days to two years of incarceration.