CHOPIN, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Two men are behind bars, charged in connection with the theft of copper wire from a plywood plant in Natchitoches Parish and police say this is not the first time one of them has been arrested for stealing from the plant.
According to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, supervisors from the RoyOmartin Plywood Plant in Chopin, south of Natchitoches, called deputies Monday around 9:30 a.m. to report a person trespassing. Supervisors said the person was near the area where copper wiring and other metal items are stored.
Shortly after the supervisors called the sheriff’s office, a deputy working security and supervisors detained 20-year-old Elisha Barrow, of Shasta Lake, California. A second man later identified as 48-year-old Sammy Smith, of the 2300 block of Hwy 486 in Campti, was also detained near the railroad tracks that are close to the plant. Deputies say neither of the men are employees of the plant.
During the interviews with both Barrow and Smith, detectives say they learned that the two men were traveling in a black 2008 Dodge Avenger with a California license plate.
Deputies say they noticed a small bag of suspected marijuana in plain view when they found the vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, they also found a large bundle of stripped gauge copper wire valued at over $750. After the search, a towing company towed the vehicle for storage.
At the crime scene, detectives say they also found wire strippers and a large duffle bag.
Smith was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center on Monday and charged with felony theft. Deputies say this is the third time Smith has been arrested in connection with copper thefts from the plywood plant.
Barrow was also booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center on Monday and charged with felony theft, possession of marijuana, and criminal trespassing.