Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Who Turned Out The Lights?

As law enforcement officers in a mid-sized metropolitan city, it's our job to patrol the streets and protect our citizens from those who mean to do you harm or take your property. During the course of our jobs we sometimes find ourselves involved in certain things because we were either in the right spot at the right time or had a little luck on our side. Sometimes it’s just a result of good old-fashioned police work.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, November 3rd, all of the things mentioned above came into play with one Overland Park police supervisor. Sergeant Kyle Livengood was on routine patrol in the area of W. 159th and Quivira Road around 3:30 A.M. when he came upon a male and two females standing next to a vehicle that appeared to be broken down. To Sgt. Livengood this initially appeared to be nothing more than a motorist assist call, but because of his training and experience, was soon able to figure out this was something way more than a breakdown.

Sgt. Livengood happened to be patrolling the 159th Street corridor because we've had a rash of copper thefts along that area. These have included losses from several construction sites as well as from three city street lights.

As Sgt. Livengood began to ask the trio questions, he felt their answers didn't make sense. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that before he encountered the three subjects on the roadway, he saw there were at least three streetlights out along that stretch of road. The behavior and responses from the three certainly piqued the interest of this seasoned officer.

While the Sergeant was looking inside the vehicle, he noticed the rear cargo area of the SUV was stuffed with a large amount of black cable wiring. Even more interesting was that a spool of the same type of wiring was on the sidewalk where the male was standing when the officer pulled up.

Sgt. Livengood then called for backup and a more extensive interrogation commenced. These three were now considered theft suspects. The investigation that night confirmed there were a total of seven street lights that had been opened and damaged as a result of having the wire pulled out of them. 

The estimated value of the copper within the wiring is believed to be around $650, but the cost to replace the damage caused by the theft will be well into the thousands of dollars. This type of theft is not only very costly but it's also extremely dangerous. People have been electrocuted across the country trying to pull off similar stunts.

The male suspect was arrested and was charged with felony theft and criminal damage to property. The two females were released pending further investigation. Detectives are also trying to determine if these same individuals may be linked to previous copper thefts in the area. 

They are presumed innocent until proven guilty.