Columbus police: Man arrested with $1,200 worth of copper traced to school district

Columbus police arrested a 53-year-old man today for allegedly stealing $1,200 worth of copper from the Muscogee County School District. Tracy Edward McMillan has been charged with felony theft by taking, criminal trespass and possession of tools for the commission of a crime, police said.

McMillan, who has reportedly sold about $16,000 worth of copper locally in the last few months, was the first arrest attributed to the city’s Copper Task Force reward program, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said.

According to police accounts, the tipster told police that the suspect was stealing copper from the school district us barn at 5908 Whitesville Road.

Police began an investigation by alerting area scrap dealers to be on the lookout for Edwards and described the kinds of scrap he might bring in to sell.

This morning, Edwards showed up at ABC Metal with 140 feet of heavy wire valued at about $1,200. ABC contacted detectives, who asked them to stall McMillan until they arrived.

McMillan was arrested, taken to police headquarters and held while a school system security official was dispatched to the bus barn to see if the suspect’s wire matched any there. There was a spool of identical wire missing 140 feet, police said.

McMillan was then charged with felony theft by taking and misdemeanor criminal trespass with the school district as the victim and possession of tools for the commission of a crime with the state as the victim.

A Recorder’s Court hearing is set for Tuesday at 9 a.m.