Two career criminals who methodically swiped a substantial amount of copper wire from Intercounty Electric to support their methamphetamine addictions have been charged with multiple felonies.
Mark W. Wood, 43, and Kenneth D. Frazee, 30, stole the copper wire during a two-hour heist at an Intercounty Electric Cooperative warehouse in Licking just after midnight Sunday to sell for money to support their drug habits, Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said Friday morning. They also swiped a two-ton truck, Honda ATV and 15-foot flatbed trailer.
Neither has a permanent address, Watson said. Both have been in and out of the Department of Corrections.
“They were stealing to support their (drug) habit, basically,” Watson said.
Wood was arrested Thursday morning while speeding along Interstate 44 with a truck – the same one seen in surveillance video of the theft – of copper wire. Watson said authorities were on the lookout for Wood after interviewing Frazee Wednesday night.
Wood is incarcerated at the Crawford County Jail on charges of speeding, driving while revoked and possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. Watson said Frazee, who was released following his interview, should be easily found and apprehended. He does not have a vehicle and moves from one hotel to another.
Both men face Class C felony charges of second-degree burglary, theft and stealing and two charges of first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle. Bond for both is $100,000.
The entire burglary was captured on video after the men crawled under a fence to enter the complex. Upon entering the unlocked building, they methodically loaded an Intercounty Electric truck with spools of wire using two forklifts. They used bolt cutters to open a gate as they left.
Watson said the men were familiar with the operation.
“They had surveyed it and cased the place out,” he said. “We know it’s something they had planned. They’d been there and observed what was there.”
An interview with Frazee led authorities to the Intercounty truck, which had been ditched west of Rolla near the Doolittle exit on I-44. It was empty and unloaded.
The following morning, Wood was spotted as he sped down the interstate with a load of copper. The license plate number of the truck matched one that was used earlier in the week to sell copper at an unnamed location, Watson said. Copper brings about $2.50 per pound on the open market.
Watson said officials recovered “quite a bit” of the copper wire, which already had the insulation burned off it. Authorities are still looking for the ATV and trailer.
Intercounty Electric Cooperative is a member-owned business that operates in several counties in southern Missouri, including Texas.