Police and scrapyards link up to thwart copper thieves

Speedway hit by wave of thefts

Speedway, Ind.

Speedway police have an arrest warrant out for a suspected copper thief identified by new computer software technology linking scrapyards with investigators.  

Gerald Joyce is being sought in connection with the theft of 660 pounds of copper wiring from an occupied building at 1200 Main Street in Speedway May 25.

"The lines coming from the transformer to the building had been cut," said Speedway Detective Kyle Hodges.

Hodges said the thieves had the expertise to avoid being electrocuted.

"They'd also gotten in the main electrical cabinet and cut out all the main wires. They stripped wires throughout the building and taken out the control boxes, things like that."

Within an hour of the reported theft, police said Joyce was at Circle City Metal Recycling at 1423 West Henry Street, selling his haul.

"They estimated 650-660 pounds of copper wire was taken out of the building," said Hodges.

When police identified joyces fingerprint recovered from the scene they called circle city.

"We have a computer system that takes the customers identification when they come in so we know who they are their address their driver's license number," said Business Manager Andrew Gilbert.

"We take pictures of every piece of material that comes in and we keep records and share them with police every evening."

Those photos, including a picture of Joyce alledgely cashing a voucher for his copper at an ATM on-site, are posted on Leadsonline.com which links scrapyards and pawnshops with investigators.

"We're not in the business of buying stolen scrap," said Gilbert. "We want legit stuff."

Speedway police said a handful of abandoned businesses along the crawfordsville Road corridor have been targeted by copper thieves.

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