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May 7, 2014

UPDATE: Two arrests in copper theft case

MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville Police have arrested two suspects in connection to copper thefts at the former Shaw Industries building.

According to police a male suspect, 59-year-old Dondis Ferguson of Macon, and a 15-year-old juvenile have both been arrested.

For several months officers have responded to the Shaw Industries building location, in reference to a number of thefts of copper wiring.

In the most recent break-in, officers found a ladder standing upright toward the ceiling and multiple bundles of copper conduit wire. The two officers noticed right away that “a metal box overhead had been opened” and “copper wire cut from it,” according to the incident report. Police collected 14 bundles of copper wire at the location, which was transferred into evidence.

Last week MPD officials released an image captured from video surveillance footage of a possible suspect in the case.

“Each time it seemed as if the burglar was one step ahead of us,” said Maj. Reginald Hill, criminal investigations commander.

He added that with some evidence collected from previous burglaries, it still was as if the suspect or suspects remained out of the police’s grasp. With the number of burglaries at the location increasing, Police Chief Dray Swicord gave the command for night-time surveillance.

“This became a task that called for a collaborative effort of the entire department. We, as a unit, began camping out inside the location in an attempt to catch the suspects in the act,” Hill said.

Officers and detectives worked together during Tuesday surveillance. Detective Kim Khan came up with an estimated timeline on when the suspect might be entering the building.  Khan and an MPD officer began surveillance Tuesday afternoon by sitting inside the Shaw building. After being inside the building for a couple of hours, Hill said they were alerted to movement from inside the building. Officers were called and arrived at the location immediately.

The two men were taken into custody and both have been charged with burglary.

“We do expect for the charges to multiply as we examine all the evidence,” Hill said.

Chief Swicord expressed his gratitude for the hard work and dedication of his department in landing the suspects.

“I have some great, hardworking people,” Swicord said. “I am proud of my department and the hard work and long hours they put in this case.”

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