A St. Michael man was charged about a week ago with alleged third-degree burglary and receiving stolen property, each at a felony level.
According to a criminal complaint from the Wright County District Court, Tyler Joseph Wells, 24, of St. Michael, allegedly burglarized his former employer, Rainville Carlson Inc., stole copper paneling worth about $11,000, then sold the copper to Integrated Recycling Technologies (IRT) in Rogers and Monticello.
Wells is released on a $2,000 bail, and is set to appear before a judge Nov. 27.
Rainville Carlson is a roofing and sheet metal business located in Corrina Township.
Wells allegedly stole and sold the copper between August and November, and was arrested Nov. 9 by Wright County Sheriff's deputies.
Wright County detective Tony Endreson received a report of burglary from Rainville Carlson Inc. on Nov. 2, and took a sample of copper for comparison with the copper the owners believed was stolen.
"The owners said there was no sign of forced entry which led them to believe a former employee was involved in the theft..." stated the criminal complaint.
Endreson contacted IRT in Monticello and learned that the defendant allegedly sold about 1,831 pounds of copper in the last month and a half.
On Nov. 9, the Rogers IRT location contacted the detective and said the defendant was attempting to sell more metal, stated the complaint.
The detective took the copper from IRT that Wells was allegedly trying to sell and "it appeared to Detective Endreson that this was the copper the defendant had stolen from Rainville Carlson Inc." the complaint stated.
Wells agree to speak with Endreson, "at which time he admitted in a Mirandized statement to burglarizing Rainville Carlson Inc. and stealing copper from the business," stated the criminal complaint. "The defendant admitted selling the copper at IRT."
Wells is charged by the Wright County District Court with a count of allegedly receiving stolen property, a felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $20,000, or both, if he is found guilty.
He is also charged with a count of alleged burglary, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $10,000, or both, if he is found guilty.
Captain Greg Howell with the Wright County Sheriff's Office said about copper thefts in the area that, "Copper thefts remain an issue, but do not seem to be on the increase or decrease."