Man arrested for selling copper

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MOSES LAKE - A Moses Lake man was arrested after allegedly

attempting to sell nearly $3,500 of stolen copper wire to a local

business.

Gene D. Reichart, 52, Moses lake, was arrested for possession of

stolen property in the second degree and trafficking in stolen

property in the first degree.

MOSES LAKE - A Moses Lake man was arrested after allegedly attempting to sell nearly $3,500 of stolen copper wire to a local business.

Gene D. Reichart, 52, Moses lake, was arrested for possession of stolen property in the second degree and trafficking in stolen property in the first degree.

Moses Lake police arrested him while he was reportedly attempting to sell the wire at Moses Lake Iron and Metals.

Police responded to a burglary in early January when the wire was stolen from a storage yard on East Broadway. The suspect in the theft cut some fencing to gain access to the storage yard and steal the wire. Moses lake police Capt. Dave Ruffin said.

Metal theft is a big problem in Grant County, though not as prevalent in Moses Lake.

"Most of the theft is copper wire and aluminum. ... A lot of it is stolen from farm implement places or farms themselves and it's not just copper. They also steal pipe, traditionally aluminum pipe. It's significant."

"They steal the metal to support their methamphetamine habit. It's drug-related," added Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones.

The Grant County Sheriff's Office is working to educate the community in several ways to prevent the theft of metals, including a no-buy list preventing people who have been convicted of certain crimes from selling the material at recycling centers.

"Rates are very good for metals - aluminum, copper, or any kind of metal you want. That's what the thieves take," Jones said.

Bargain Town, a recycling center in Moses Lake, pays between $2.25 and $2.55 per pound for copper wiring, 40-60 cents per pound for aluminum and 50 cents per pound for irrigation pipes.

Jones said Grant County Sheriff's deputies and Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team detectives arrested another suspect near Quincy as part of an investigation targeting individuals dealing in stolen property.

"We found ATV's, irrigation pumps and multiple tools," Jones said. "He's a suspect."

The wire and metal "no buy" list the Grant County Sheriff's Office provides to recycling centers includes the date when an individual convicted of a crime is taken off a 10-year prohibition.

Moses Lake police have teamed up in the effort to prevent metal thefts with a similar list preventing thieves from getting cash for metals at pawn shops.

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