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Waco Man Arrested After Pulling Gun on Farmer During Copper Theft

SEWARD, Neb. – A Waco man who pulled a gun on a Seward County farmer after being confronted for attempting to steal copper from irrigation equipment, has been arrested in connection with the incident.

Charles Lewis, 53, was taken into custody Wednesday by Seward and York County Sheriff’s. On Tuesday, a farmer in the Utica area came across Lewis in the act of copper theft and confronted him. Lewis then pulled a gun on the man and made threats before fleeing the scene. He currently faces charges of terroristic threats, use of a weapon to commit a felony, criminal mischief, trespassing, theft by unlawful taking and burglary.

Lewis is also involved in an ongoing investigation regarding multiple thefts in York County.

The price of copper has been inching up slightly in 2017, and so have copper thefts. Copper theft, done specifically to pick up a small amount of cash quickly, is especially harmful because of the safety risks it creates when taken from electric utility property, such as substations and power poles. The risk can cause fires, explosions, power outages, electric shock, or even loss of life.

NPPD works with law enforcement agencies across the state to make them aware of the signs of potential copper theft and their personal safety when investigating these thefts. Some of the signs of copper theft to watch for include:

  • Loose or broken wires;
  • Broken utility pole attachments;
  • Open gates at unattended substations or holes in the security fence;
  • Burn marks on utility equipment; and
  • Electrical arcing
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