Suspected metal thief caught at local business

Vincent Smith, 55, Fort Wayne, was arrested Sunday on multiple charges relating to the theft of metal and tools from a Fort Wayne company.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – One man is in custody after stealing about $40,000 in copper and metal from a local company.

The Fort Wayne Police Department began investigating thefts at Asplundh Construction, 4632 Ardmore Avenue a couple months ago.

“Trucks, trailers, dumpsters, wherever, if it wasn’t nailed down, he was taking it,” said Brian Oberkiser, Crew Foreman of Asplundh Construction.

Sunday around 5:30 p.m., detectives with the department’s gang and violent crimes and burglary suppression units waited as Vincent Smith, 55, of Fort Wayne, gathered Asplundh’s materials from inside the company’s fence. Police arrested Smith after he loaded his SUV with copper and metal and left the property about three hours later.

According to police, Smith stole about $40,000 in total from Asplundh.

Asplundh is a subcontractor for American Electric Power. During a power outage roughly a month ago, Oberkiser said the company was short on supplies because Smith had taken them.

Investigators discovered Asplundh is among other companies that Smith has targeted within the last year, stealing nearly $70,000 in metals. Police used records from local scrap yards to determine places Smith sold metal.

“He loaded up entirely an SUV and was on his way out. So, when you think about an individual in a short-period of time that’s been able to profit in turn of almost $70,000, that each haul was a very significant haul and this would have, I’m sure, equaled thousands of dollars,” said Officer Michael Joyner, spokesperson for the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Smith faces several charges, including felony theft, misdemeanor criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

Police continue to investigate Smith and possible associates.

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