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Police Make Arrest In Multi-County String Of Copper Thefts

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Police believe they know who's responsible for a string of copper thefts across several counties in our area.

They've arrested 24-year-old Kevin Foster Jr. and charged him with a long list of counts.

According to court papers, Foster said he was part of group involved in a numerous thefts of copper wire and fixtures from mostly vacant buildings since last September.

Police believe that group sold what they stole for close to $60,000.

Thefts allegedly happened at a Port Authority facility in Beltzhoover, where the group apparently had look-outs with walkie-talkies, as well as the vacant Sears store in Wilkins, an old Ames store in Connellsville, a vacant movie theater in West Mifflin, a West Penn Power site in Jeannette, an old furniture store in Monroeville and the vacant JCPenney store in Lower Burrell.

When part of the group allegedly returned to that JCPenney store to steal even more, police say they found two of them on the building's roof.

Locals aren't shocked at all that vacant buildings have become targets for copper thieves.

"No, I'm not surprised," said Tom Linderman, of Tarentum. "I hear people breaking into places all the time, stealing copper out of houses and everything."

"People out of desperation, you always hear about people stealing copper now," added Joni Thomas, also of Tarentum.

Foster is in the Allegheny County Jail.

In court papers, investigators say the group caused more than $400,000 in damage during their alleged thefts.

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