TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

September 14, 2012

Stolen equipment recovered in Whitley

CORBIN — By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer

Thousands of dollars of valves and pipes from the old water intake station in Williamsburg were recovered by police at a local scrap yard on Tuesday, according to Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird.

As a result of a recent investigation, high-pressure water valves, each weighing between 500 and 800 pounds were recovered and police plan to present the theft case to the Whitley County Grand Jury.

“These two individuals took it to Southeast Recycling on Savoy Road here in Williamsburg,” said Bird, adding the scrap yard was extremely cooperative.

“They really try to conform to the new House Bill 390 which put restrictions on scrap metal sales and that helps us out a lot,” Bird said.

According to Bird, the high-pressure water valves were “pretty expensive for the city to have to replace,” adding some of the valves could have been reused by the city had they not been heated.

“Some of the valves could have been reused by the city if needed, but now that they have been heated with torches they are useless. The metal content has been degraded,” Bird said.

The valves were so heavy that the scrap yard used its magnet on a boom to load them onto the dump truck.

“It’s definitely not something two men could pick up and move on their own. They used a winch type come-a-long hooked to a trailer to drag the valves,” Bird said, adding the water intake station on the Cumberland River was located in a very secluded area with a washed-out road.

“To be honest, I don’t know how they got a trailer down there. They were very industrious,” said Bird, adding the thieves worked hard and spent some time stealing the valves.

“According to the records recovered from the scrap yard, it looks like they started back in late August. They spent some time cutting it and working and they took it to the scrap yard and got around $1,500 out of it,” said Bird.

Police say the items are worth much more than that and the theft could cost the city thousands of dollars.

“We are currently working with the city officials on how much the damage is, but I know it is in the thousands of dollars,” Bird said.

Police are not releasing any details on the two suspects because there are no charges filed yet. Bird has met with the Whitley County Commonwealth’s Attorney to discuss the case and said it will be presented to the next grand jury in October.

The  old intake station is not used anymore, so the theft did not affect water service or supply, according to Bird.

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