Thieves take close to $250,000 worth of copper from Calhoun, TN - WSMV Channel 4

Thieves take close to $250,000 worth of copper from Calhoun, TN plant

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MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of copper has disappeared from a McMinn County business and investigators are trying to find who is responsible. The copper thieves hit the Resolute Forest Products plant in Calhoun multiple times over the last month.

"They were able to cut quite a bit up and transport it out of there fairly quickly," says McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy.

The thieves were caught in the act stealing hundreds and hundreds of feet of heavy, industrial copper wiring from the plant in Calhoun.

"I hate to use the word 'courageous,' but it takes a little courage to sneak on an industrial site numerous times," says Guy.

Sheriff Guy says his office was contacted in March, with plant security asking for help.

"These guys keep coming on the property and I know it's very frustrating for Bowater security."

He says so far, they have stolen close to $250,000 worth of copper.

"We've loaned them some of our tools, some night vision, some other things they might be able to use," says Guy.

It paid off because the cooper crooks came back for more, with the security equipment snapping pictures. Sheriff Guy says they are not your typical copper thieves.

"The way that they're cutting them up on site, they've got to have some tools and some knowledge of how to do that."

Guy says investigators are looking into the possibility that it's an inside job.

"It's possible it may be some people affiliated with some contractors that know the schedule down there, know when the patrols are made, know when shift changes are made."

Bottom line, he wants the thieves caught and so does the plant. Guy says investigators are checking with area scrap yards, but even that is not a guarantee on helping find the suspects.

"Unfortunately, like with jewelry, we've got some reputable dealers and we've got some less reputable dealers in Southeast Tennessee. And these guys know where to take that stuff, to kind of skirt around some of the rules."

Sheriff Guy believes two to three people are involved. If you have any info that can help investigators with the case, call the McMinn County Sheriff's Office.
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