Copper From Police

Stealing Copper From The Police - On Camera

AUG 27 2014

Snohomish County Washington police noticed missing property around their 911 cellular tower. Though the tower was surrounded in barbwire, thieves couldn’t be stopped from breaking and entering to steal the very copper used to operate the 911 cellular tower. A security system was installed, sending a clear message to criminals to just walk away. If criminals were dim-witted enough to steal from police, the surveillance would catch them in the act or make clear identification. Everyday the value of security systems continue to grow and marginalize the small investment of owning one.


"… A man wearing no shirt was walking around SnoPac's 911 communications tower eight miles away in Marysville.

"The subject, wearing shorts." Deb Whitford is the lead dispatcher at SnoPac's Communications Center in Everett. She said she could see right away the man was up to no good.

"At one point," she said, "He was in the middle of the fenced area getting his loot together." By then, Marysville Police were on their way. "He's by the gate now," Whitford relayed to the officers.

"Looks like he's white male, no shirt." "The information we were getting was real time information," said Lt. Mark Thomas of the Marysville Police Department. Whitford's dispatches allowed Marysville police to form a secure perimeter around what turned out to be two crooks, Thomas said.

"And then a couple of the officers made entry into the gate," he said. "And were able to approach without being detected until they were right on top of them." The surveillance video shows one man raising his arms in surrender. The wire they were allegedly stealing is actually grounding wire used to prevent lightning strikes and other power surges from destroying the tower and cutting off 9-1-1 service for thousands of people in Lake Stevens, Marysville and Arlington in Snohomish County.

Snohomish County installed surveillance cameras two years ago after a rash of break ins for copper wire at five of its 20 9-1-1 towers. But this is the first time the cameras have helped police nab the culprits. "I mean it's our link, you know,” said Whitford. “It's the public's way of getting ahold of us.

And if you've got people out there stealing copper wiring, their endangering people who need this service.” Court documents identified the two men as 56-year-old Michael Bruscus of Tulalip and 41-year-old Edward Gilseth. Gilseth told police he had smoked heroin four hours before they were caught. He was held on a drug charge. Both he and Bruscus are also accused of burglary and malicious mischief. Both men are in the Snohomish County Jail." By Deborah Horne KIROTV

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