(COUNCIL BLUFFS) Three people were arrested in connection with copper wire theft in Council Bluffs.
According to a report from the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Hempel was parked near the intersection or River Road and 130th Street at around 6:00 Saturday morning when he observed a dark colored SUV pass his location and head south on River Road. The vehicle turned into a field entrance just north of 22901 River Road and headed south again where the vehicle turned into the U.S. Cellular Tower site driveway. Deputy Hempel headed toward the vehicle’s location and parked about ½ mile away and shut off his lights. About two minutes later the vehicle left the scene and headed northbound on river road toward Deputy Hempel’s location. Deputy Hempel stopped the vehicle for not having any working rear license plate lamps and excessive speed.
Deputy Hempel spoke with the driver and passengers in the vehicle who each stated that they were on their way home from a friend’s house in Crescent and got lost on the way back to Council Bluffs. Throughout the process Deputy Hempel had noticed a small bag with industrial sized bolt cutters and several bundles of copper wire that were partially covered by a blanket in the vehicle.
During this time Deputy Hempel was informed that an alarm was going off at the U.S. Cellular Tower. Corporal Marc Freeman arrived on scene to assist with the individuals in the vehicle and Deputy Pattee and Trooper Seilman arrived on location and went to the tower site which had been damaged and copper wire was stolen.
All three subjects were put in handcuffs and the vehicle was searched. Several bundles of copper wire were found in the back of the vehicle which matched the wire that was stolen from the tower site. Large industrial bolt cutters and several small wire cutters were found in a backpack. Shoeprints at the tower site also matched one of the passenger’s shoes.
The driver, 24-year-old Jodi Hutfless, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and passengers, 32-year-old April Hinman, of Pacific Junction, and 31-year-old David Jay, of Glenwood, were booked in to the Pottawattamie County Jail for 1st Degree Theft, 1st Degree Criminal Mischief, 3rd Degree Burglary and Possession of Burglary Tools.
The damage to the tower site was estimated at around $12,000. The value of the stolen copper wire was estimated around $20,000 total.