2 men arrested in theft of copper from church|[07/04/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 4, 2008

Two Vicksburg men were picked up Thursday morning and charged with stealing about $50 worth of copper and aluminum from a church two hours earlier, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

Arrested were Ricky Cavett Smith, 45, 775 Dudley Road, and Steven James Moore, 24, 651 Burnt House Road, Pace said.

The two were picked up at about 7:45 a.m. after they had driven into Keyes Recycling Center on U.S. 61 North and then drove away after spotting a Warren County deputy’s vehicle at the business.

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The deputy had been dispatched to the recycling center after the sheriff’s department received a report of a copper theft at Cedar Grove M.B. Church at 3300 Grange Hall Road.

The report from the church, which was received at about 6:30, said two of the church’s air-conditioning units had been destroyed and stripped of their copper coils. No value was given for the air conditioners.

After the suspicious vehicle, a white Chevrolet Blazer, pulled away from the business, the deputy followed and stopped it. Copper believed stolen from the church was in the vehicle, Pace said.

Pace said more charges may follow.

Both Smith and Moore were in the Warren County Jail Thursday night without bond pending their initial court appearances Monday.

Copper, which has been skyrocketing in value, has become a hot item for thieves over the past months. By May, both the sheriff’s department and Vicksburg Police were reporting more copper thefts than were reported in all of 2007.