Arrests made in copper pipe thefts

Sequim Gazette

A Sequim man already charged with criminal trespass and burglary for allegedly scavenging copper wire and other items from a burned down restaurant was arrested last week for investigation of a separate copper theft.


Craig S. Foster, 49, of Sequim, was arrested July 13 after a Sequim police officer saw him and another man, Jamie J. Brown, 29, carrying what was believed to be stolen copper piping.


Foster already is accused of stealing copper wire and other items from the ruins of the New Peking restaurant and was charged last week with criminal trespass and burglary.


Police said on July 5 a foreman installing copper tubing at the Sequim Grocery Outlet store on West Washington Street found 114 pieces of 20-foot copper pipe were missing. The estimated value of the missing pipe was $10,000.


An assistant manager at The Home Depot, next to the Grocery Outlet construction site, told police he saw a white Cadillac parked near the project site early in the morning and later saw it driving across the parking lot with what appeared to be a rack on top. The car looked heavily weighted down, he told police.


On July 12, the construction foreman told police he found some of the missing piping, according to police reports. Copper pipe was found hidden among shrubs, along a fence and in bushes and landscaping not far from the construction site, police said. The pipe was left alone with the assumption that whoever left the pipe there was stockpiling it to return later for retrieval, police said.


On July 13, a Sequim Police officer returned to the site in the morning and saw two people across the field south of the construction site crouching and carrying something, according to a probable cause statement.


As the officer approached, the two men dropped what they were carrying and began to walk away quickly. The officer caught up to the men, identified as Foster and Brown, and found three separate bundles of copper pipe near their location. A hacksaw and a roll of duct tape were beside the bundles of pipe, police said.


The men were placed under arrest on investigation of possession of stolen property. Brown gave conflicting accounts to the officer and Foster invoked his right to remain silent.


Charges against Foster are pending in Clallam County Superior Court. He was released from jail on personal recognizance July 18.


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