A man stole more than $14,000 worth of copper wire from the GFA Compressors Inc. after he was terminated from the company in 2016, according to testimony Monday morning in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Bradford Lee Hutchens, 39, pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of burglary. He was ordered held in the Muscogee County Jail under bonds totaling $90,000.
Judge Julius Hunter bound the case over to Superior Court.
Officer Jason Carden with the Columbus Police Department said he was called to the GFA Compressors Inc. at 1346 Webster Ave. on July 5 to investigate a theft.
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Authorities said surveillance video shows a man with the same build as Hutchens entering the business on July 4 with his face covered. The suspect used a machine to steal copper wire and replaced it with a larger amount of copper wire, Carden testified.
Officials said Hutchens, 39, and two people employed at the business know how to operate the machine that was used.
Further investigation indicated that the business alarm had been deactivated and reactivated about 23 times since February 17. The code used to enter the business was given to Hutchens and three other employees.
“I went through those and some of those are only one-minute deactivations, so we imagine that around 18 times the business was entered,” Carden testified.
Carden said more than $14,000 worth of copper wire was stolen over the course of several months.
Authorities said Hutchens sold that same kind of copper wire to Blaze Recycling & Metals on Feb. 20, July 5 and July 6 and other days. He has received about $14,000 for that copper, according to police.
“The People at Blaze Recycling said he’s the only one that has brought them that kind of copper wire,” Carson testified. “And every time he showed up, he showed up in his vehicle and he showed up by himself.”
John Anker, the owner of GFA Compressors Inc., said Hutchens didn’t just steal from the company. He said he also stole from “a whole bunch of people out on the floor.”
“People make bad choices,” Anker said. “But when you just continue to do it purposefully, it kills our community.”