RAVENSWOOD - The West Virginia State Police are continuing the investigation into the theft of $15,000 worth of copper scrap from Constellium Rolled Aluminum.
Last Friday, two thieves were able to go on-site at the plant south of Ravenswood and have 4,000 pounds of copper loaded onto their white Ford F-350 crew cab truck with tan trim before driving away, said Sgt. J.P. Murphy of the state police detachment at Ripley.
A security guard told police he saw only one man when they first arrived and checked in. Investigators believe the other man was hiding in the truck.
The one who checked in claimed to be a contractor who was picking up an order, Murphy said. That man was given a pass into the plant after he used a fake license and identification on plant security forms.
Constellium regularly sells scrap copper known as copper chops that are left over from its alloy production and maintenance activities. It's not unusual for contractors and trucking companies to visit the plant to pick up the metal.
There is surveillance camera footage of the two men, which Murphy said they are working on enhancing to be able to bring out more detail in identifying the two men, who were described as being Hispanic. One man is described as being around 6 feet tall and a bit overweight while the other man was described as being short and thin.
Trooper C.A. May of the West Virginia State Police is in charge of the investigation.
Once the men were on the plant grounds, they went to one of the cast houses and told employees they were picking up scrap copper.
"The foreman there said they looked like typical contractors they work with," May said. "The workers thought that's what they were there for, so they loaded it in the back of the vehicle."
After workers filled the truck's bed with scrap copper, the men left the plant.
"They were pretty loaded - it was squatting the truck," May said.
May said plant security officers contacted several metal recyclers in West Virginia and surrounding states after the theft occurred Friday afternoon.
"It'll be hard to get rid of it," she said." If we get word out, all those recycling places aren't going to touch it."
Murphy said scrap facilities and others around the area who purchase copper scrap have been alerted to be on the lookout for the individuals or the missing scrap. The West Virginia State Police have also alerted law enforcement agencies in other states to be on the lookout for the individuals and the missing scrap.
"They are all on the lookout," Murphy said.
As a result of recent copper thefts throughout the area, many companies have increased security.
"Everyone with copper has upped their security," Murphy said.
Laura Prisc, a spokesman for Constellium, said Wednesday the company had no statement to make on this incident.
People are asked to call the State Police Detachment in Ripley at 304-372-7850 if they have any information on this incident