KILGORE/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - Gregg County sheriff's deputies say they investigate copper thefts daily, and the heists are costing local businesses.
The latest arrest was Tuesday, when deputies apprehended 53-year-old Kenneth Lee Rivers, of Hallsville, at Nabors Drilling Co. in the 500 block of FM 1252 in north Kilgore.
According to court records, a Nabors' yard superintendent called deputies at 1:22 p.m. Tuesday to report that someone was stealing copper from the Kilgore yard. Investigators arrived at the scene within five minutes and found Rivers stripping insulation from wiring on the east end of the yard near large diesel tanks. Records show Rivers had tin snips, pliers and a razor knife in his back pockets.
Investigator Cecil Shelton says the insulation Rivers tried to steal weighed about 50 pounds and has about $200 in value. However, it will cost Nabors Drilling thousands - if not tens or hundreds of thousands - of dollars in lost equipment production and revenue, Shelton said.
Rivers is in the Gregg County Jail this afternoon on $20,000 bond.