Deputies make break in rash of copper thefts - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Deputies make break in rash of copper thefts

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Olmsted County deputies have made a major break in the rash of copper thefts we've been covering on the NewsCenter for months.

Deputies served two search warrants in Rochester Friday. The first at 8:20 a.m. at 1322 3rd Ave. SE.

Authorities say the suspect is also linked to many burglaries dating back to more than a year ago.

Law enforcement searched for property that had been taken in local burglaries and scrapping thefts. Deputies found everything from snowmobile helmets and car seats to copper scraps and batteries at the residence. 

The suspect has not been arrested yet, but police know who he is and have been tracking him for some time.

On site, the officers all had stolen property reports. Every time they unloaded something from the garage they attempted to directly identify the item in the reports and will be contacting the victims.

Law enforcement served a second search warrant at 618 5th Ave. SE at about 6:30 p.m. Deputies found more items and say the brother of the suspect lives there.

Some of the items were also sold to pawn shops and scrap yards.

"There has been a tracking process both with our pawn shops and scrapping yards who have been very cooperative with the investigation," said Sgt. Claymon.

Everything that is sold to the pawn shops, such as Pawn America is put in a national database.

"Every thing that gets put into there has a serial number, description of the item, who brought it in, what time they brought it in," said George McCarthy of Pawn America.

In this case, Pawn America can't legally identify the suspect but says officers do access the reports and that they often work with law enforcement in catching thiefs.

"Bottom line is we're starting to put a beat on scrappers who are committing illegal scrapping activity, " said Sgt. Claymon.

An arrest is only a matter of time and then law enforcement says the focus can be on getting the victims their belongings.

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