Suspected copper thief arrested at AEP facility


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  Security guards called Fort Wayne police when they saw someone via security camera inside the fence of a warehouse facility who appeared to be stealing copper wiring. 

Police responded to the AEP facility at 8201 Baer Road just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday. Guards monitoring the security cameras stayed in touch with police to give them updates on where the suspect was.

Shortly after police got there, the suspect stepped in front of an officer’s cruiser. He was dressed in all black, had a ski mask on and was carrying a flashlight, according to police reports. The officer stepped out of his vehicle and held the suspect at gunpoint until another officer came and put him in handcuffs.

The suspect had a roll of money and a flashlight on him when police arrested him. Police also found a pair of locking pliers, another flashlight, a screwdriver, and a small amount of loose copper wiring nearby.

The suspect, who identified himself as Foster Mowrey, told police he was only cutting across the property as a shortcut on his way home after his friend’s car broke down and said he was curious about what was inside the fence. He said he never tried to steal anything, according to police reports. The property is surrounded by a chain link fence topped with barbed wire. 

When police found the car they believe to be Mowrey’s, they could see bolt cutters, a large tool bag and a rental agreement with a self-storage facility in the rear cargo area.

Mowrey has a history of criminal conversion, theft, and criminal trespass charges.  Some dating back to 2002.

The police reports also state that trespassing on the AEP facility is itself a felony as it is a public utility. 

Regardless the reason why Mowrey was there, AEP spokesperson Tracy Warner says he’s glad the man didn’t get hurt.

“Some people will attempt to steal wire that is energized, and that is very dangerous. They could leave the wires exposed. The public could be injured, our workers could be injured,” Warner said.

Plus, Warner says copper thieves may find that it’s not worth the trouble to make quick cash.

“They probably aren’t going to get the prices that they are reading about. Some of our newer lines have not copper but mostly aluminum with very trace amounts of copper.”

If you see someone walking around an AEP facility without a hard hat and protective equipment on from AEP or a local contractor, Warner asks you call 911.

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