TROPIC – A reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a group of thieves responsible for a rash of burglaries in Garfield County. The most recent break-ins and subsequent thefts took place Saturday night at South Central Communications in Tropic and at Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City.
Five people wearing masks were caught on surveillance camera stealing copper cable from the South Central Communications facility in Tropic Saturday night, South Central Communications CEO Michael East said. The same group is believed to be responsible for a break-in that took place at Ruby’s Inn that same night – however, during the Ruby’s Inn burglary, one of the thieves removed his mask and his face was caught on camera.
This isn’t the first time thieves have struck South Central Communications to steal plastic-coated copper telephone wire.
“We’ve had four thefts from our location in Tropic, Utah,” East said.
East said the wire is heavy and the thieves had to cut it and carry it out in sections. He suspects the thieves are stealing the wire for its recyclable value, he said – removing the plastic sheathing, melting down the copper and selling it at recycling plants.
“It’s easy to melt down, and once you melt it you can’t trace it at all,” he said.
Other South Central properties have also been targeted recently. East said he doesn’t know if the same group of thieves is responsible for the other burglaries.
The last time the thieves struck, East said, it cost South Central about $6,000 to replace the pilfered wire – a much higher price than any recyclable value the thieves will derive from melting the wire down.
East said South Central Communications and Ruby’s Inn are collaboratively offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the thefts.
The items stolen from Ruby’s Inn were also metal items, East said. Denise Dastrup, with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, said she doesn’t know what specific items were taken from the inn.
Anyone with information regarding these thefts or who can identify the man in the photo is asked to contact the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office at 435-676-2678.
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