• Damage to Michael Sanders’ irrigation system is estimated between $15,000-$20,000.
• The stolen wire brought about $780 when sold as scrap.
PIKE COUNTY, Ala., Sheriff Russell Thomas, left, and Goshen farmer Michael Sanders answer media questions during the press conference.
The arrest of a suspect charged with stealing copper wire from an irrigation system in Pike County, Ala., resulted in charges against five more individuals on theft and drug-related charges.
Thieves vandalized an irrigation system owned by Michael Sanders of Goshen, an Alfa policyholder, in September.
Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said a $10,000 reward offered by Alfa Insurance for information leading to a conviction in the case generated interest.
“The reward money got the attention of the media, and that got a lot of folks talking about it,” Thomas said during a press conference where he announced the arrests. “Once that got the ball rolling, we tied the suspects to several other burglaries.”
Thomas said the thieves stole to support their drug habits.
Damage to Sanders’ irrigation system is estimated between $15,000-$20,000. Thomas said the wire brought about $780 when sold as scrap.
Michael Eugene Allen, 44, of Goshen was charged in connection with the copper wire theft at Sanders’ farm. He also faces theft and burglary charges from another case on Connell Road where two rolls of copper wire were taken from a Goshen residence.
Thomas said Allen confessed to the crimes.
The arrests were a result of a multi-agency effort by the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Troy Police Department, Alabama Agriculture and Rural Crimes Unit, 12th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Office and sheriffs’ offices in Coffee and Crenshaw counties.
“It feels good to know they were caught,” Sanders said. “I hope everybody who has been part of it…. gets the maximum sentence.”
Also arrested were Larry Douglas Davis III (Trey Davis), 23, and Dazare Lashay Wiggins, 23, of Brundidge; Jonathan Noah Green, 29, of Banks; and Ladonna Bailey Paramore, 49, and Annette Stewart Watkins, 44, of Troy.
Several hundred items believed stolen from homes and farms were recovered during the investigation. Thomas said he expects more arrests in connection with the cases.
The sheriff said while the reward offered by Alfa didn’t directly lead to the arrests, it generated conversation that eventually surfaced the suspects.
For background information on the copper theft, see $10,000 reward offered in Alabama copper theft case. For information on the Alabama rural crimes unit, see Alabama Agricultural and rural Crimes Unit officially established.