During the last half of 2017, the Sheriff’s Office received multiple reports of copper wire theft from ADOT right of ways resulting in a loss of several thousand dollars in material and labor costs. The prior media release detailing these thefts is included for detail and follows this current update.
On May 1, 2018, YCSO detectives arrested 58-year-old Robert Tingue for Trafficking in Stolen Property, Facilitation of Trafficking in Stolen Property, Theft, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. On the same day, 60-year-old Kenny Wade and his wife, 52-year-old Jennifer Wright, were arrested for Trafficking in Stolen Property and Theft/Control of Stolen Property. All were released by the court yesterday pending further proceedings.
Background - After YCSO detectives began investigating the thefts they found records indicating someone had scrapped over 300 pounds of copper wire at a location in Phoenix. The transaction record listed Robert Tingue as the customer pawning the copper wire load. Photos of the transaction were reviewed and detectives noted consistency in color, gauge, and weight in relationship to length, with the stolen copper wire previously reported stolen. The vehicle used to bring the wire to Phoenix, a blue older model Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, was seen in photographs from the business.
During the investigation, detectives received a possible suspect vehicle license plate which showed registration on a Chevrolet S-10 in the name of Kenny Wade and an address in the 500 block of North Washington Avenue, Prescott. Detectives went to that location and located the suspect vehicle along with Kenny Wade and Jennifer Wright. During the contact, Kenny admitted to scrapping cooper wire in Phoenix a few months prior adding that he got the wire from his neighbor, ‘Bob’ Tingue. When pressed, Kenny admitted knowledge that ‘Bob’ had stolen copper wire from light poles using his (Kenny’s) Chevrolet S-10 truck. Kenny would then take a percentage of the profit when the wire was scrapped in Phoenix. Jennifer acknowledged her involvement also on behalf of ‘Bob,’ and both admitted knowing the wire they scrapped was stolen.
‘Bob’ even mentioned to the couple that the thefts ‘made the news.’
As the interviews were being concluded, Robert ‘Bob’ Tingue arrived on scene. Robert denied any involvement in the thefts, also indicating he had not scrapped any material in the last 5 years. Detectives then reminded him of records regarding a copper wire theft transaction he did in September of 2017. Robert consented to a search of his home and detectives seized glass meth pipes, a digital scale and meth residue on top of a dresser.
Robert has served prison time for prior wire thefts.
The investigation remains active – anyone with additional information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Bureau at 928-771-3278. Refer to case no. 17-040538.
December 26, 2017 – UPDATED – Several additional cases under investigation
YCSO Seeking suspects in Wire Theft
Since the original release was issued (see below), the media office was notified about several additional cases of wire theft occurring recently in Yavapai County. YCSO and ADOT officials are asking the public to remain alert for suspicious activity when travelling late night/early morning hours especially along major roadways where side streets or on/off ramps intersect under overhead lights. Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Bureau are consolidating these incidents and working with law enforcement partners in an attempt to identify and locate suspects.
If anyone has information on these thefts, please call the Sheriff’s Office at 928-771-3260 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 1800-932-3232. A tip to Silent Witness leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects in this case becomes eligible for a cash reward. Remember, the victims are ultimately Arizona Tax payers who supply dollars through taxes and fees as revenue for the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF)
Date and nature of these incidents include –
September 7, 2017 – Prescott Valley - ADOT reported more than 8600 feet of copper wire stolen from junction boxes north and south of Lakeshore Drive at Fain Road. These boxes supply power for the street lamps along the east side of Fain Road. Dollars loss estimate including labor to reinstall was placed at $10,000.
September 20, 2017 – Prescott Valley – same area as above, except targeting the west side of the roadway. ADOT reported more than 15,000 feet of 8-gauge cooper wire stolen from the streetlight array at the intersection of Fain Road and Lakeshore Drive. 10,000 feet of the stolen wire wrapped in black insulation and 5,000 feet wrapped in green insulation. Dollar loss estimated at $9350.00.
November 13, 2017 – Prescott Valley - ADOT reported the theft of 8000 feet of cooper wire from junction boxes between Granite Dells and Great Western Drive in Prescott Valley. Loss estimated at $5000.
December 18, 2017 – Seligman – ADOT reported the theft of 600 feet of 8-gauge cooper wire covered with black insulation. The theft likely occurred sometime in recent weeks at the west bound on ramp for 40 in Seligman involving wiring for street lights. Loss estimate not provided.
Additionally, Prescott Valley Police Department has at least one additional cooper wire theft case reported as does the Yavapai Tribal Police involving a theft near the VA Hospital on Highway 89 in November or December of this year.
ISSUED DECEMBER 20, 2017 - On December 11, 2017, at 9 AM, deputies were dispatched to a copper wire theft at Cold Water Canyon and I17 in Black Canyon City. Personnel from ADOT told deputies they noticed the lights over the I17 south on ramp were not working and upon inspection, discovered the connecting wire had been removed from the power box. Further inspection revealed that #6 stranded cooper wire was pulled from the power box to a junction box south of Cold Water Canyon Road. Additionally, #8 copper wire was pulled from the junction box to the lights and its terminus into a junction box east of the on ramp. A total of 1700 feet of #8 copper wire and 35 feet of #6 stranded copper wire was stolen.
ADOT personnel believe the theft occurred sometime between December 1, 2017, and December 11, 2017. The estimated loss, including labor to reinstall the stolen wiring, is $5000.
YCSO is seeking anyone with information on this theft to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 928-771-3260 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 1800-932-3232. A tip to Silent Witness leading to the arrest of a suspect in this case becomes eligible for a cash reward. Refer to case number 17-044177.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov