Thieves Target Scraps at Construction Site


By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

WILLIAMSON CO. -- Two people in Marion are accused of stealing from a construction site.  A tip from the community helped police track down the suspects.

Police say scrap metal thefts are all too common in our region, especially in the past year. In this situation, a witness's quick thinking helped police find the thieves in under an hour.

"Quite often we get hit. I'd say that's the third one this year," explained Operations Manager Steve Ashe. 

He's an employee of E.T. Simonds construction. The company works all across the region. They're used to crooks hitting their sites, but the result isn't always the same as Sunday night's crime.

"It's a good deal the police caught 'em this quick," Ashe enthused.

A witness called police just around 9 p.m. Sunday, after seeing two people on the empty construction site.

“They fled on foot, and because of the mud, they were looking for someone possibly covered in mud," Marion Lieutenant Dawn Tondini explained.

Police used a canine and canvassed the area. They found Jason Clark and Ashlee Powell in a getaway car within 45 minutes. They were arrested immediately.

"If we wouldn't have received the call from the citizen last night, we wouldn't of caught these people," Tondini added.

She says the suspects had taken pieces of cut metal and put them in the back of their abandoned truck.

"Any type of metal they can get their hands on, they'll take. If it's laying out in the open, then somebody will probably grab it," said Tondini.

Ashe agrees, saying the sites are easy targets since they're often in rural areas, tucked away from traffic.

"We're prepared for it. A lot of our sites have cameras, hidden cameras and we have a night watchman," he explained.

It’s another expense for a business trying to make an honest living. One they've accepted as necessity.

"We're looking for you and if we catch you we're gonna prosecute you," Ashe said.

Both Clark and Powell are in jail on $5,000 bond. Police advise keeping your scrap metal and wire locked in a trailer or garage.


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