Three men accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of copper and brass from Federal Mogul in Smithville over an eight month period have been arrested by Smithville Police.
Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Wednesday that 56 year old Billy Joe Rigsby of Raymond Road, 28 year old William Corey Dickens of Forest Avenue, and 46 year old Martin Riley, III of Poss Road are all charged with theft of property and will be in court on August 22.
According to police, the thefts occurred multiple times from December 2012 to August 2013 during the middle of the night after the second shift when no one else was at the plant. The intruders went under and over a fence, entered through an unlocked door at the receiving area behind the building, and loaded carts with 50 pound bags of almost pure grain copper, which is used in the manufacture of brake pads at the facility. In some cases, pieces of EDM brass were also stolen.
According to Lieutenant Matt Holmes, the investigation began after police first received a tip and then a formal complaint by an official of Federal Mogul. "We spoke to a representative of Federal Mogul who advised us that they had been suspecting some copper was being stolen. They placed a hidden camera out there. He (Federal Mogul official) provided us with some video. When we watched the video and through investigation, we were able to identify the two subjects on the video as Martin Riley and Billy Joe Rigsby," he said.
"They way they were doing it was after hours they were entering the building, loading up carts while no one else was there, and wheeling the carts out the back door. They would go during the times they (plant) were closed during the middle of the night and take anywhere from 10 to 25 to 30 bags at a time or however many they could get loaded and feasibly get out of there with. They went under the fence and loaded their truck," said Lieutenant Holmes.
After committing the thefts, the men allegedly sold the copper and brass at the Southern Central business in McMinnville. "He (Federal Mogul official) initially didn't know how much copper had been taken but they were working on doing an inventory so we started calling around, trying to locate the copper. We learned the copper had been sold to Southern Central in McMinnville," he said. "They would take the copper and brass to the scrap yard. In some cases, they transferred the copper from the bags they came in to totes to transport it to the scrap yard," said Lieutenant Holmes.
The investigation revealed that Rigsby and Dickens were allegedly partners in the crimes from December, 2012 to March, 2013, until Dickens was arrested on a separate charge. Rigsby then allegedly continued with the thefts from the plant and was allegedly joined by Riley, on at least one occasion, through August 4, 2013.
Dickens is charged with one count of theft of property over $60,000. His bond is $25,000. Riley is charged with one count of theft of property over $10,000 (for thefts from June-August, 2013). His bond is $10,000. Rigsby faces two charges, one for theft of property over $10,000 (for thefts from June-August) and another for theft of property over $60,000 (for thefts since December 2012). Lieutenant Holmes explained that the second warrant was taken against Rigsby after it was discovered further in the investigation that he had allegedly been involved in the thefts as far back as December. Bond for Rigsby totals $35,000.
One of the warrants against Rigsby states that on August 4, Rigsby was seen on video taking multiple bags of copper from the back door of Federal Mogul. This activity has been going on from June 1, 2013 to August 4, 2013. An estimated 45 bags of copper has been taken valued at $18,000.
The other warrant against Rigsby alleges that on or about August 4 he was seen on video taking multiple bags of copper from the back door. After an investigation, Lieutenant Holmes determined this activity had been going on since December, 2012. The copper was sold to Southern Central in McMinnville. The copper is valued at over $60,000.
The warrant against Dickens alleges that on August 4 suspects were seen on video taking bags of copper. After an investigation it was determined Dickens was involved from December, 2012 to March, 2013. Dickens entered the business through the back door after hours about fifteen times, taking a total of about 150- 50 pound bags of copper and sold it to Southern Central in McMinnville. The copper is valued at over $60,000.
Riley's warrant states that on August 4, 2013 at Federal Mogul, Riley was seen on video taking multiple bags of copper from the back door. This activity has been going on from June 1, 2013 to August 4, 2013. An estimated 45 bags of copper has been taken all valued at $18,000.
The case was investigated by Chief Caplinger and Lieutenant Holmes.