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Home  |  News  |  Richland County News Advisory: Copper Thieves Caught; Search for Additional Suspects

Richland County News Advisory: Copper Thieves Caught; Search for Additional Suspects
Monday, April 11, 2011

RICHLAND COUNTY: Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced the arrest of two suspects and the search for more in connection with copper/nonferrous metal thefts.

Sheriff Leon Lott states that on April 8, 2011 around 9:30 PM Uniform Patrol Deputies located two suspects sitting in a pickup truck near a home under construction off Birchfield Road in the Farrow Point Subdivision. In the truck was a large spool of aluminum cable used in construction of homes. As the Deputies approached the truck the passenger jumped out and ran into the woods. Deputies secured and arrested the driver, Thomas Oelze (DOB 11-4-92) and charged him with larceny; while responding K9 Deputies located and arrested the passenger Kasey Dinkins (DOB 9-23-91).

Sheriff Leon Lott states that investigators have subsequently charged Dinkins with two counts of obtaining nonferrous metals unlawfully; in connection with the March 29, 2001 theft of four (4) AC units from 10,817 Two Notch Road and the theft of one (1) AC unit from 113 Winning Ticket Drive that occurred between March 28 and April 5, 2011. The Sheriff added that copper theft has been on the rise throughout South Carolina. With 501 reported cases of copper and air conditioning thefts in 2010 alone in Richland County. The Sheriff states that as long as there is an increased demand and prices remain high this will be a problem we will have to deal with.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews are working together on this ongoing copper theft problem and putting those responsible behind bars. Investigators from both Departments are working to determine if additional suspects were involved in these copper/nonferrous metal thefts. The Sheriffs state that investigators from both departments are working diligently to determine if additional charges will be brought against Oelze and Dinkins and capture those responsible for any copper/nonferrous metal thefts.

Sheriff Leon Lott is asking that everyone take note of this growing problem. That everyone should take some very important steps to safeguard your property from thieves who leap at every opportunity. Sheriff Leon Lott states some of the ways that we can help remove the opportunity is to:

· Install cameras

· Post “No Trespassing” signs

· Put up fencing or caging

· Lock buildings securely at night

· Use fluorescent paint or engraving to personalize your copper

· Consider putting your company’s logo the copper


· Join a Crime Watch Neighborhood Association

· Start a Crime Watch Neighborhood Association

· Take advantage of the FREE services from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Community Action Team

Sheriff Leon Lott is asking you to do what you can to remove the “opportunity” that crime can be. The Sheriff is asking all citizens to help stop the growing problem of copper theft that is affecting churches, businesses, and citizens.

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crimestoppers by calling 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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