Alleged copper thieves caught at former Oreck plant

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Two Louisiana men are sitting in the Harrison County Jail charged with grand larceny. The charges stem from a month-long spree of copper thefts in Long Beach at the former Oreck plant.

"They knew exactly how to get in," said Assistant Police Chief Don Bass.

Police say James Alvin Miller, 38, and Trent Michael Plaisance, 31, stole copper from the Oreck plant not once, not twice, but three different times in less than a month.

"They would actually cut the strands, which are fairly large," said Bass. "They are about a pound and a half a foot and then cut it out of the ground."

Chief Bass said the men used expensive wrenches to cut the copper wire. It's a timely process, which is why they came back several times.

Police say after their third trip, the men had gathered about $11,000 worth of copper wire. They decided to come back again, but this time, they were being watched.

"What they did is they grabbed the wire and then they tightened it with a wrench and then they squeezed it, and this is the blade and it just pulls it through and cuts it," investigators told WLOX News.

Investigators say the men pulled the wire out of the ground near a high-powered generator, risking their lives to make a buck.

"This business, as huge as it is, it was just a great opportunity," said Bass.

It's an opportunity these men wouldn't get again. When they returned to the plant for the fourth time, they were met by Long Beach Police. Now investigators are moving forward to find out who paid these men for the stolen copper.

"Someone here is going to be accountable," said Bass.

Both Miller and Plaisance are charged with three counts each of felony grand larceny, one count each of attempted grand larceny and possession of methamphetamine.

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