APD Takes Down Copper Wire Thieves (UPDATE: Escapee caught)
Copper wire thieves have stolen more that $100,000 worth of wire since March
UPDATE, Saturday, August 11 - Anchorage police found and arrested Shawn Rebisch Friday night, according to APD Detective Darren Hernandez. Rebisch had been on the run since July 31 after escaping custody at the Cordova Center.
He's charged with escaping detention which is a Class B Felony.
That charge is on top of the multiple theft and trespass charges. His arraignment is set for Saturday.
UPDATE - Shawn Rebisch was in custody at the Cordova Center corrections facility in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, where he was about to be served the arrest warrant for multiple first-degree theft charges of the copper wire and criminal trespass. Shawn saw the Department of Corrections van and when his name was called, he escaped using an emergency exit door on the first floor. Police are currently looking for him around Anchorage. His brother Michael has been arraigned on the copper wire theft charges and is in custody.
ANCHORAGE - Copper wire thieves have hit Anchorage businesses hard this year, stealing more than $100,000 worth of wire since March. Now, Anchorage police said they believe they've caught the ringleaders.
Michael Rebisch, 45, and Shawn Rebisch, 32, are charged with multiple counts of theft and criminal trespass.
Police said the brothers are the main players in a string of thefts from small and large construction and electrical companies across Anchorage.
Two other people are also charged and police have more suspects being investigated.
Detectives said the motive behind the thefts is most likely drugs, which became evident when the searched some of the suspects' cars.
“We had search warrants to search all three vehicles, and in all three vehicles paraphernalia was found,” said APD theft detective Darren Hernandez. “A mass amounts of syringes.”
Police said they believe Shawn Rebisch knows how to operate heavy machinery and is skilled in electronics, which helped him break into construction yards.
“With the forklift they can actually lift these large spools of copper wire and lift them up into dump trucks and take them away,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez said copper thefts are more prominent in town this year and the scrap metal companies that buy the stolen goods should be more alert.
“If these people are coming in and not represented by a company then most likely it's stolen,” said Hernandez.
The president of Anchorage business Raven Electric, Don Lederhos, has worked with the company since 1978. He says the first copper theft he can remember was in 2008 and they’ve been increasing ever since.
“They cut through that fence, we've replaced that fence probably six or seven times, and that's been quite expensive and they just keep coming back and doing it again,” said Lederhos.
The company invested in a higher-level security system, which recently paid off.
“The people were in the yard getting ready to haul the copper out and they were caught red handed,” said Lederhos.
This article originally stated Shawn Rebisch escaped Thursday morning; police clarified he escaped on Tuesday, July 31.