By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Several copper thefts during the last month in the city of Williamsburg led the police department to one suspect.
Auturo Dean Mattie, 35, of Williamsburg, remains jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center under a $20,000 cash bond after his arrest early Tuesday morning.
According to the Williamsburg Police Department, Mattie’s arrest came after copper thefts were discovered in the old Lion Apparel building on 13th Street in the city.
Investigators believe the suspects targeted air conditioning units on vacant buildings and homes.
In some cases, suspects dismantled working air conditioning units on the roof of businesses.
As a result of the this rash of thefts, the department increased manpower and patrols were put in place throughout the city at night.
About 4:45 a.m. Tuesday, WPD Detective Bobby Freeman watched a subject cross the street at 11th and Main streets.
The male suspect was dressed in camouflage pants and long-sleeved dark clothing.
When Freeman made contact with Mattie, the detective observed his clothing was soaked with sweat and he had numerous tools in his possession — including wire cutters.
Officers conducted a neighborhood canvass and located Mattie’s car, which Freeman said was parked in a secluded location on 11th Street.
Inside the vehicle, officers reportedly recovered additional cutting tools.
Further investigation revealed a stack of copper pipes and air conditioner parts located on 13th Street in close proximity to the old Lion Apparel building.
Officers later determined numerous air conditioner units on the roof of that building had been stripped.
Mattie faces charges of theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $500, possession of burglary tools, first-degree criminal mischief, and first-degree criminal trespass.
Freeman was assisted by Chief Wayne Bird, Captain Eddie Cain, Officer Tim Shelley, and Kentucky State Trooper Tony Dingess.
By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
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