Man allegedly caught stealing copper from Shawnee light poles - KCTV5

Man allegedly caught stealing copper from Shawnee light poles

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SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

A 39-year-old Lenexa man has been charged with damaging and stealing copper wire from city-owned street light poles.

Jake A. Shields, was arrested Sunday after police were called about 4 p.m. to the 20300 block of West 80th Street on a suspicious person in the area.

When officers arrived, they found copper wire missing and light poles damaged, but were unable to locate a suspect at the time.

Authorities returned to the area later that night thinking the suspect would likely come back.  That is when they found Shields tampering with one of the light poles.

Shawnee police said Shields matched the description of the earlier theft. 

Initial damage estimates are $12,000, police said. The suspected crook damaged 1,900 feet of cable.

The arrest occurred thanks to a persistent and patient officer.

Officer Scott Gillum knows it is hard to catch copper thieves.

"When I arrived on scene, I found two light poles behind me opened up at the base of them. The access panel was opened up and the wires had been cut," the officer recalled. "It was obvious to me that he would be back or his buddies would be back. Someone would be coming back for what they left behind."

So he returned about 7:30 p.m.

"As I turned in the area, my headlights illuminated him in the process of removing the wire," Gillum said. "He ran across the road up the hill, and noticed I was right behind him. So he just stopped and gave up."

Gillum credits an eagle-eyed neighbor for noticing something wasn't right and calling police. He also was modest about his role, saying he just did what he is paid to do.

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