TCSO Arrests Copper Thief, Says $50,000 Worth of Damage Done to Apartments

Tuesday, August 13th 2019, 8:26 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office arrested a man August 12 who deputies said stole copper wiring and plumbing pipes from the Sandy Park apartment complex. 

The arrest comes after a deputy recognized a man who fit the description for someone wanted for recent burglaries at the complex.

Christopher Smith was arrested on complaints of second-degree burglary and having stolen property.

The deputy who stopped to talk to Smith noticed copper wiring sticking out of a bag inside Smith's wagon. The deputy also found faucets and other plumbing materials investigators said Smith stole, after breaking into the vacant apartment units near 65th West Avenue and Charles Page Boulevard.

"You can see he pulled off sheet rock to get to the areas where the piping was. He damaged everything from the ceilings all the way down to the floor to try to get in steal the things that he stole,” Deputy Justin Green said.

Smith's arrest affidavit said he caused about $50,000 worth of damage to the apartment units.

Investigators said Smith was recently found sleeping in one of the vacant units and was asked to leave.

"There were obviously red flags here, so our deputies did the good job of being able to determine that and make a stop on him,” Green said.

Green emphasized the danger in stealing copper. Earlier this month a man died, and another was hurt after deputies suspect they were trying to steal copper from the KRMG radio tower.

"A lot of times these wires have voltage running through them, so that can endanger you,” Green said.

Deputies said Smith is wanted in South Carolina but didn’t specify what he is wanted for.

The Tulsa Housing Authority oversees the apartment complex. A spokeswoman said she couldn't comment because the investigation is ongoing.

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