Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Copper thieves strike high line


Webster Parish Sheriff's detectives solved a number of area theft cases this week during a single investigation that began with missing copper wire.

Johnathon E. Langley and Sheryl Whitney Goodwin, both 25 of Minden, were taken into custody on theft charges related to three Webster burglaries, and confessions on several others in Claiborne Parish.

LangleyEarly in the week, sheriff's investigators Cpt. Dustin Reynolds and Lt. Barry James began an investigation into a reported theft of high line wire in a south Webster area. During that investigation they followed leads to two other admitted copper wire thieves, but they were linked to and were arrested Monday for thefts in Bienville Parish.

On Wednesday, Reynolds and James resumed their investigation into the estimated mile-long tract of missing copper high line wire from Webster Parish. They discovered information that put them on the trail of the criminal couple.

"We found records showing they recently sold several hundred pounds of copper to scrap yards in both Homer and Shreveport," Reynolds said. "The copper that was sold matched the description of what we were looking for."

Investigators brought in Goodwin, Langley's girlfriend who had several outstanding warrants related to identity theft and fraud. During her interview, they learned of the couple's involvement in the theft of the copper wire as well as several more cases.

goodwin"She confessed to her involvement in the theft of the wire and also in the burglaries of Shongaloo Grocery and four business burglaries in Claiborne Parish," James said.

Langley, who was in the custody of Minden Police Department on an unrelated drug charge, was brought in for questioning by investigators, and he too admitted to his involvement in the theft of the copper wire and other burglaries.

According to investigators, Langley explained how he removed the estimated two miles of copper wire after cutting down all of the utility poles with a chain saw.

"They pulled the first pole down with their car" Reynolds said. "They decided that was too difficult and cut the rest down with a chainsaw.

"By the end of our investigation, we had closed at least six unsolved cases in both Webster and Claiborne," Reynolds added. "It's likely that Claiborne will add their own charges as well."

Langley was charged with two counts of theft of utility property, two counts of simple burglary and two counts of felony criminal damage to property.

Goodwin was charged with two counts of theft of utility property, one count of simple burglary, two counts of felony criminal damage to property; and on outstanding warrants for forgery, attempted fraudulent acquisition of a credit card and computer fraud.

Langley and Goodwin were both booked into Webster's Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

Sheriff Gary Sexton said he is satisfied and happy with the resolution of these cases and appreciates the cooperation his office shares with other area law enforcement.

"In this investigation, our investigators worked with both Minden Police and Claiborne Sheriff's Office to follow leads and solve cases," he said. "It is strong alliances like these we make use of daily that help get the job done fast and efficiently for all of our residents. We help our neighbors and they help us."






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