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Police: Alert Abilene officer on way to work comes across couple stealing copper

Published On: Jan 17 2013 02:33:49 PM CST   Updated On: Mar 13 2013 11:55:07 AM CDT
Abilene police car

ABILENE, Texas -

Two people – including a 32-year-old man and 31-year-old woman – were arrested Thursday after an alert Abilene police officer on his way to work caught them in the act of stealing.

Justin R. Sales and Theresa L. Pilcher were arrested for state jail felony theft of copper.

Police said officer Jeremy Holmes, while traveling to the Law Enforcement Center about 5:40 a.m., found Sales and Pilcher near a vehicle in an alleyway in the 400 block of Willow Street.

Sales and Pilcher were adjacent to a fenced-in yard belonging to a local towing and recovery company, according to a news release.

In his privately owned vehicle, Holmes notified APD dispatch after he observed them quickly getting into the vehicle and driving away from the scene, police said.

Holmes followed the vehicle to South 8th and Rose, where the vehicle had been driven into a ditch. Police said Sales began running away but stopped when Holmes ordered him to stop. Sales and Pilcher were arrested.

According to police, a large air conditioning condenser unit – from the towing and recovery company – was found on the backseat inside the vehicle. A hole had large hole, police said, had been cut from the chain-link fence.

The condenser unit, police said, contained copper and was valued at about $1,000.