Webster Parish Sheriff’s authorities arrested two men late Monday night for allegedly stealing an estimated $7,000 worth of copper wire from a Bienville Parish high line. Theft of copper has recently kept detectives more than busy.
Martin Quevedo, 37, of Bridgeport, Connecticut was arrested for two counts of felony possession of stolen things and one count of felony theft of more than $900.
Clyde David Blakely, 64, of Sanford, Florida was arrested for felony possession of stolen things.
It all began when sheriff’s detectives Cpt. Dustin Reynolds and Lt. Barry James followed a lead phoned in midday Monday by a concerned citizen regarding a large quantity of copper wire sold at a Webster Parish salvage yard. This investigation turned up nearly 300 pounds of the stolen high line electrical wire.
“We determined that the wire had been sold to a salvage yard for just over $900,” said James. “Once we tracked down the seller, Quevedo, we brought him in for an interview where he confessed to selling and stealing the wire.”
It turned out that Quevedo, who was working for a tree service contracted by electrical companies all over the United States, had taken the wire from a site in Bienville Parish.
During the interview, Quevedo mentioned Blakely, a coworker who allegedly had knowledge of the theft and the plan to deprive the salvage company out of cash for the stolen goods.
Blakely was then brought in by detectives Lt. Scott Tucker and Sgt. Tommy Kemp for questioning.
“Blakely admitted that he knew about the theft of the wire,” Reynolds said. “Their plan was to sell the wire for cash and have a barbeque.”
Investigators also learned of an additional load of stolen wire hidden in Quevedo’s company vehicle which was located at the local hotel in which he was staying.
This, along with the wire sold to the salvage company, was seized as evidence in the case.
“Theft of copper is certainly one of the biggest issues we have right now,” said Sheriff Gary Sexton. “With its value so high right now it makes for a good target by thieves. We ask citizens to report any suspicions they have relative to theft of copper wire or scrap metal such as in abandoned houses and cars, pipe, and oil field locations.”
Quevedo and Blakely were transported and booked at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.