Copper Thief Faces 3 To 5 Years Behind Bars


A Payson man pleaded guilty last week to stealing hundreds of feet of copper and selling it to salvage yards.

As part of the plea deal, Charles Wayne McLellan, 35, agreed to pay nearly $30,000 in restitution and spend up to five years in prison for trafficking stolen property and burglarizing two businesses.

On Feb. 18, Payson Concrete workers discovered hundreds of feet of copper wiring had been stolen overnight from the property, according to Shawn Fuller and Lauren Ramirez, who prosecuted the case for the Gila County Attorney’s Office.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office discovered McLellan had sold 134 pounds of copper from Payson Concrete to Hendrix Salvage Company in the Valley.

Then on Feb. 23, workers at a C.S. McCrossan Construction site discovered burglary tools and copper wiring cut in several places.

Video surveillance captured a vehicle owned by McLellan’s wife at the facility.

McLellan admitted to the GCSO investigators that he attempted to steal copper wiring from the plant and had stolen wiring from Payson Concrete.

Judge Gary Scales will sentence McLellan Sept. 16 at 9 a.m. in a Globe courtroom. As part of the plea agreement, McLellan faces mandatory prison time, ranging from three to five years, and $26,000 in restitution, Fuller said. Awaiting sentencing, McLellan is in jail.


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