Sabotage of War Materials, copper theft

This is a discussion on Sabotage of War Materials, copper theft within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I bet these two will go down hard. Salvage dealer helps detect copper thefts Salvage dealer helps detect copper thefts By T.J. GREANEY of the ...

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Thread: Sabotage of War Materials, copper theft

  1. #1
    Member Array lgsracer's Avatar
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    Sabotage of War Materials, copper theft

    I bet these two will go down hard.

    Salvage dealer helps detect copper thefts

    Salvage dealer helps detect copper thefts

    By T.J. GREANEY of the Tribune’s staff
    Published Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Dave Fusselman of Moberly has been in the scrap metal business for almost 30 years, but the copper pieces that came in by the bucketful this winter and spring left him scratching his head.

    "I just thought, ‘Why would anyone throw away millions of tiny pipe caps?’ " he said of his initial reaction to the odd lot.

    As it turned out, the pieces weren’t pipe caps but "bullet cups," and federal prosecutors are now charging two men with stealing more than 16,000 pounds of the material from an Army munitions plant in Independence, where they worked.

    The theft is deemed more serious because it occurred during wartime and carries a maximum penalty of 245 years in prison for one of the men.

    Authorities credit Fusselman, a younger brother to Randolph County Prosecutor Mike Fusselman, with blowing the whistle on the caper.

    "The mistake they made was trying to sell to the prosecutor’s brother," Dave Fusselman said of the suspects.

    "He’s the key to this whole thing," Odessa Police Chief Robert Kinder said of the salvage operator, according to the Kansas City Star. "It was a citizen making a report. You’ve got a person here going beyond the call."

    It all started Sept. 27, when a man later identified by investigators as Charles D. Osborn, 45, of Odessa went to Fusselman’s Salvage Co. with several 5-gallon buckets full of the shiny caps.

    Employees of Fusselman’s noted the odd, smooth shape of the items but didn’t think much more about it. They paid the man the standard copper salvage rate of $3.10 per pound.

    Osborn returned two more times in October, "testing the waters," Fusselman said. By the third trip, Fusselman and his staff were suspicious. They took down the vehicle’s description and license plate number. "These things weren’t dented up or damaged to where you’d say they were rejects," he said. "They didn’t look like they should be scrapped."

    Asked about the source of the copper, Osborn said there had been a railroad derailment and a friend had helped clean up the spilled material. That story only further set off warning lights for the scrap shop workers.

    But what happened next put that speculation into overdrive. On Nov. 5, Osborn’s alleged accomplice, Timothy D. Langevin, 36, of Independence pulled up with 2,540 pounds of the copper bullet cups in buckets filling a U-Haul trailer.

    For the next four months, Fusselman continued to buy scrap copper when it was proffered and scanned industry alerts to see whether anything similar was reported stolen. In March, he called the Moberly Police Department to report his suspicions, and police traced the license plate to an Odessa rental dealership.

    Prosecutors later accused Osborn and Langevin, who were employees of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, of brazenly using a company forklift to remove from the factory skidloads of boxes containing bullet cups.

    The plant contracts with the Army to produce 7.62 mm ammunition for small-arms weapons.

    By March 28, Osborn’s last trip, the alleged thieves had traded in for salvage 16,528 pounds of copper valued at almost $80,000. The quantity of copper was sufficient to produce 1.5 million rounds of ammunition for the U.S. Army.

    Fusselman said the copper’s salvage value was about $45,000. The copper pieces were scratched as they were moved to and inside the salvage yard, rendering them unfit for ammunition. The Lake City plant did not seek return of its copper, which has been melted down.

    According to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday, "the diversion of the bullet cups interfered with and obstructed the ability of the United States to prepare for and carry on war activities."

    Fusselman said he promises to keep his eyes open, but there is no law requiring dealers to ask for identification of people who come to them selling scrap metal.

    The skyrocketing price of copper - which has more than doubled in the past three years - has encouraged thieves to become more aggressive in stripping copper wiring or plumbing from empty houses and agricultural irrigation systems.

    "We watch for things that are unusual. We take reports from authorities over the phone, and we catch people every so often," he said. "But the fact is, if they take copper wiring out in the country and burn it" to remove insulation, "there isn’t going to be any way to identify it."
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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    Yea, will your troops are complaining about not having enough ammo, these guys interfere with the production of such. I say send them to Iraq to search for IED's

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    It just goes to show not only what you steal but from who and when you steal it what kind of time you can get.I hate thiefs and they need to get everything they got coming,As far as I know because lake city is government contracted they have to pay government scale so it ain't like these guys weren't making bank
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    Member Array MD_Willington's Avatar
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    The same people that steal those are the type that would try to steel energized copper bus bars from substations... only when they do that justice is a lot faster and stinks a bit...

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD_Willington View Post
    The same people that steal those are the type that would try to steel energized copper bus bars from substations... only when they do that justice is a lot faster and stinks a bit...
    I did electrical testing/repairs on high voltage gear for a few years. The blowups caused by people who try to steal energized copper can get pretty messy.

    You would think if you were going to steal something on that large of a scale, you would at least invest in a voltage detector.

    And as far as the two miscreants in the OP...245 years; Wow! That's a heck of a sentence.

    I do kind of wonder how the scrap operator continued to buy this copper for over 4 months and he is treated as some kind of a hero.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    Totally Unfair

    "The theft is deemed more serious because it occurred during wartime and carries a maximum penalty of 245 years in prison for one of the men."

    That's a bit harsh!
    I think 235 years in prison would be more than enough time.


    Their "defense" in court will be:
    "Huh?...A War??? ~ We didn't know there was a war going on."
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    I personally like the idea of making those guys IED searchers or bomb testers.
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    Senior Member Array stanislaskasava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerbouchard View Post
    I do kind of wonder how the scrap operator continued to buy this copper for over 4 months and he is treated as some kind of a hero.
    My first thought, exactly. I think he played dumb to make a profit for as long as he could.

    "I just thought, ‘Why would anyone throw away millions of tiny pipe caps?’ " he said of his initial reaction to the odd lot.
    And he kept on buying them for 5 or 6 months. Duh.

  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    You know what it's going to cost to keep these two clowns in prision........I say stand them side by side and stick a 44 to the ear of one and then pull the trigger and the would be cost pennies on the dollar and I'll furnish the bullet.
    Last edited by Reborn; April 21st, 2008 at 08:35 PM. Reason: rewording
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    Their "defense" in court will be:
    "Huh?...A War??? ~ We didn't know there was a war going on."
    Yea, will your troops are complaining about not having enough ammo, these guys interfere with the production of such. I say send them to Iraq to search for IED's

    Here's another one you can add to the list:
    Man pleads guilty in Radford Army Ammunition Plant case - Roanoke.com

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    Man pleads guilty in Radford Army Ammunition Plant case
    At an earlier hearing, Dustin McPeak's attorney said the worker just wanted a break.
    By Mike Gangloff

    Radford Army Ammunition Plant worker Dustin Andrew McPeak, who was accused last year of purposefully damaging one of the propellant plants that cranks out military ammunition, pleaded guilty this morning.

    McPeak, who was 20 when he was indicted last fall, was seen carrying a bolt shortly before his press stopped last September, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Bassford said. McPeak announced there was a contaminant in the propellant cake that the press was extruding into strands, then pulled out a bolt, Bassford said. Such contaminants are a great concern in the plant, both because they could interfere with the propellant's reliability and because metal-on-metal contact within the production process could cause sparks and lead to an explosion.

    Jimmy Turk, McPeak's attorney, said at an earlier hearing that his client just wanted a break.

    The plant ended up dumping the production run because it could not be determined if bolt fragments or other contaminants were present elsewhere, Bassford said. The plant valued the lost propellant at $43,000, though that amount has been disputed.

    A value greater than $1,000 is the legal trigger for the felony destruction of federal property charge.

    McPeak will not learn what penalty will follow his plea until after a pre-sentencing report is prepared.

    The Radford arsenal is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility that is the nation's largest propellant manufacturer.
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    Osborn and Langevin are going to have permanently extended vacations...and rightly earned...
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