What is in this article?:
- $11,000 reward granted in Alabama copper theft case
- Arrests made quickly
• The elder Saucer, 80, spotted the thieves on an early Sunday morning in March of last year.
• Both suspects were indicted by a Monroe County grand jury. One pleaded guilty, and the other is awaiting trial.
• The thieves stripped nearly a quarter mile of copper wiring from the system.
FROM LEFT, Monroe County farmers Wesley and Scott Saucer, Monroe County Farmers Federation President Ronnie Joe Jordan, Willie W. Saucer and Monroe County Sheriff Tom Tate at the Saucer's irrigation system thieves damaged while stealing copper wire.
Arrests made quickly
The field where the irrigation system was located is only a few hundred yards from the elder Saucer's home. Monroe County Sheriff Tom Tate arrived minutes later and, after setting up a perimeter around the property with several deputies, he called for help from the state prison in Atmore.
"The prison officials brought in two tracking dogs, and we had one of the suspects caught in just a few minutes," Tate said. "The first one we caught told us there was another one still in the cypress swamp area, so we went back with the dogs and soon found him."
Both suspects were indicted by a Monroe County grand jury. One pleaded guilty, and the other is awaiting trial.
The damage to the irrigation system was covered by an Alfa farm owner's policy. The thieves stripped nearly a quarter mile of copper wiring from the system.
Tate said metal theft, particularly copper wiring, is a big problem around the state. Irrigation systems and churches seem to be a favorite target, he said.
Willie Saucer said he didn't have specific plans for the reward money, but said he'll find a way to put it to good use. "I figure catching these guys actually helped save Alfa money in the long-run because they weren't going to stop until they got caught," he said.
"They admitted they had done this on other farms. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to catch them in the act — well that, and they got their truck stuck."
Alfa Insurance is offering the $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for the theft of copper and other metal from poultry houses, farm irrigation systems and other property in Alabama covered by an Alfa Insurance policy.
Alabama Farmers Federation members already benefit from a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for theft from their property.