Copper thieves jailed

Published 4:12 pm Monday, February 23, 2009

By By Adam Prestridge
Three men were arrested Wednesday in Davisville, Fla. following a two-hour manhunt that included more than 20 law enforcement officers from Alabama and Florida.
According to Sgt. Ted Roy with the Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office, Deputy Rudy Brown interrupted a burglary in progress just after 10 a.m. at a secluded mobile home located at 10881 Hwy. 97 just across the Alabama-Florida state line. Roy said the sheriff’s office was called to the scene after neighbors reported a burglary.
Roy said the sheriff’s office received the call at 9:55 a.m. and Brown arrived on the scene at 10:03 a.m. Once the man fled and it was learned that more suspects were involved, additional officers with the sheriff’s offices in both Escambia County Florida and Alabama and the Atmore Police Department were called in to aid in the search.
Each suspect was arrested one-by-one after officers with the Century Correctional Institute K-9 unit tracked them down in a wooded area between Hwy. 97 and Greenland Road. Deputies arrested Joseph Wigginton, 39, of Atmore, Ronnie B Peavy, 48, of Atmore and Charles W. Phillips, 56, a local transient. Each of the men were charged with burglary, criminal mischief, theft and resisting officers without violence. Each was being held in the Escambia County Jail Saturday night on $11,000 bonds.
Roy said the suspects stole miscellaneous wiring and copper tubing.
Although the trio was attempting to steal copper wiring, Roy said thefts of this nature have decreased over the past six months due to waning prices.
“Copper thefts are on the decline,” he said. “The price of copper has plummeted, so it’s not worth it anymore. I guess they don’t know that the prices have dropped. The price has dropped to cents per pound, where it was dollars per pound. So you could steal a whole bunch of copper and pretty much get nothing for it.”
Deputies also located Wigginton’s car parked on Hwy. 97 across from the wooded area.
Officers from the Escambia County (Ala.) Drug Task Force also assisted in the manhunt.

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