Man arrested after copper theft at sports complex caught on camera

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NEW CENTURY, Kan. -- Earlier this month several air conditioning units were damaged at a Johnson County sports facility. But surveillance video and cooperation between police departments led to an arrest.

The staff at the New Century Fieldhouse noticed the heating and air conditioning wasn't working. It didn't take long before they figured out why. Four HVAC units were hit by copper thieves.

"They used a little portable saw, they make a cut then bend radiator out to let it leak, once it's empty they come back and take it out then sell it for the copper," explained Billie Thompson with Johnson County Park Police Dept.

Investigators believe James David Stone is one of the people responsible. He was charged in Johnson County court with seven counts of theft and criminal damage.

Thompson credits surveillance cameras for helping out. The camera's perched on top of the indoor sports venue caught the suspect vehicle a couple weeks ago.

"Located a white van that was coming into the area, made the cuts then came back a little later and took the units," said Thompson.

The video and information was shared with surrounding departments and the response was almost immediate. The van was found in a Gardner, Kan. parking lot.

Damage estimates are more than t$20,000. It will take a couple weeks to repair. Stone is the only one charged so far.

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