RAVENSWOOD - West Virginia State Police are investigating the theft of $15,000 in copper from Constellium Rolled Products.
According to a story on the Jackson County Newspapers website, two thieves Friday afternoon made off with 4,000 pounds of copper from inside the plant located south of Ravenswood.
The website quoted Sgt. J.P. Murphy of the state police detachment at Ripley, who said two Hispanic men arrived at the plant driving a white Ford F-350 crew cab truck with tan trim and gained access to the plant by passing themselves off as contractors. Inside the gates, the men drove to the cast house where BB-sized raw copper pellets are stored.
They allegedly loaded about 4,000 pounds of the metal into their truck, then drove away.
The account of the incident parallels the version told to The Parkersburg News and Sentinel this week by a person who said he was an employee at Constellium. The copper was used in a process at Constellium, the person said.
Sgt. Michael Baylous, public affairs officer with the state police in Charleston, said he had not received information about the incident from the Ripley detachment. Further attempts to reach the Ripley detachment Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Laura Prisc, a spokesman for Constellium, told The Parkersburg News and Sentinel that the company had no statement.
Ravenswood Mayor Michael Ihle had not heard much about the theft, but said such a crime hurts the entire community.
"Statistics prove that copper theft is a dangerous and sometimes deadly crime," Ihle said. "It could not only cost the thief his life, but cost the company financially. When a company, like Constellium, provides hundreds of good-paying jobs, the added cost brought by the crime ultimately hurts the community."
Copper thefts have been on the rise with people looking to make fast money in the down-turned economy. The Constellium theft comes on the heels of a breaking and entering last week at the Sumnerite Museum in Parkersburg where thieves stole $17,000 in copper pipe and fittings.
"For those folks in need of financial help this Christmas season, I ask them to turn away from theft and instead toward our community's private nonprofit organizations," Ihle said.