While this took place in Washington, it easily could have been Oregon. Insert Portland General Electric or Eugene Water and Electric Board.
These thieves were very clever and you have to hand to them. I mean literally these thieves were handed the goods without any scrutiny. Make sure to read the comments over at FOTM. Priceless. PatriotUSA
From Fellowship Of The Minds and DCG.
Thieves posing as ‘Cherokees’ duped Seattle utility head, stole 21 tons of copper wireBy DCG
SeattlePI: Grifters posing as Cherokee Nation charity workers duped Seattle City Light staff – including the utility’s superintendent – in a scam that saw them steal 21 tons of utility-owned scrap copper.
At least that’s the allegation made by King County prosecutors, who have now charged three men in the April metal theft. The trio is suspected of running identical cons against three Washington businesses and untold others elsewhere in the country.
In charging papers, prosecutors contend Michael George and Jim Costa – known as “Chief Little Bear” and “Joe Wolf” to their marks – donned Indian garb, wandered the halls of Seattle Municipal Tower and talked their way into a meeting with Superintendent Jorge Carrasco, who runs the municipally owned utility.
Posing as do-gooders running an arts and crafts program for Cherokee children, Costa and George are alleged to have raided the City Light supply lot after Carrasco agreed to a small donation of scrap wire.
Writing the court, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott Peterson said George, Costa and Costa’s son hit the utility as part of a nationwide scheme that’s seen them defraud businesses in at least three other states.
“They flew to Washington state exclusively for the purpose of committing these crimes and either attempted or were successful in doing so in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Whatcom (Washington) counties,” Peterson said in court papers.
Now charged with first-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property, the men remain at large.
According to charging papers, George and Costa first approached a Seattle Public Utilities employee at the municipal office building. The employee told police the men were bedecked in “Native-American garments” and claimed, falsely, to be Cherokee.
Costa and George said they were looking for the City Light office and dropped the name of a former superintendent. The employee led them to City Light, where they ran into Carrasco.
Having introduced themselves with their fake Indian names, the men told Carrasco they were members of the Cherokee Nation working with disabled children, Seattle Police Det. Don Jones said in court papers.
The men then displayed copper bracelets, necklaces and belt buckles, as well as a dream catcher, and asked that Carrasco donate copper to their charity. They passed out trinkets to City Light staff.
Asked for a business card, the men told Carrasco they had a bus packed with 35 children circling the block and would need the wire that day. Carrasco ultimately handed the men off to another City Light executive, who met them at an Industrial District storage lot in Seattle where he showed them 100 pounds of wire they could take.
The men returned to the lot with two rented box trucks, which they loaded with 42,500 pounds of scrap copper wire, Jones said in charging papers. City Light sells its scrap wire to recyclers to recoup its costs; the stolen wire was valued at $120,000.
Speaking Tuesday, City Light spokesman Scott Thomsen said all the stolen wire was ultimately recovered in Fort Worth, Texas, where it had been shipped. “Unfortunately, we were victimized by these con artists,” Thomsen said. “These guys are professional at this.”
Writing the court, Jones said George and Costa are suspected in similar thefts around the state and nation. A week before the April 23 theft from City Light, the men convinced workers at SAFE Boats International in Tacoma, Wash., to give them a tour of their facility.
As they would at City Light, the men passed out bracelets and belt buckles while visiting the boat manufacturer, which specializes in military and law enforcement vessels. They then asked for and received a small donation of copper scraps. Told there was more scrap metal at a SAFE Boats facility in Bremerton, Wash., George and Costa drove there. Once inside, Jones said in court papers, they packed a box truck with scrap aluminum and drove away.
Source is here.
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