January 4, 2014

Alleged copper crook arrested after story corrodes

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


A man was arrested earlier this week for second degree burglary after allegedly stealing copper and part of a rolling chair from an unoccupied home. 

Chickasha Police detained Donald Guffee for second degree burglary and possession of stolen property after they responded to an unknown address in the 600 block of S. 13th St. for a burglary in progress. The reporting party said they saw a male subject, later identified as Guffee, in a detached garage behind a residence on Sunday afternoon. 

After initially not finding anyone, officers staked out the area when they saw Guffee walk up with dragging a gray, 55-gallon trash can and carrying a black and yellow toolbox. The officer observed that the trash contained copper fittings, wire and other items. 

When Guffee was asked what was going on, Guffee replied that a black male named "Vernell" told him to go to the residence and drag a trash can out into the alley so he could come pick it up. The officer asked Guffee if the items were his, and he replied that they were not. 

The officer placed Guffee under investigative detention and investigated the back door of the residence, which was open. Copper wiring had been ripped from a wall in the living room area, and it appeared that the home was obviously in the middle of a remodeling. 

Police then contacted the homeowner, who said that no one had permission to be inside the house or garage or to take any of his things. The homeowner said that a roll of 12/2 yellow coated wiring should be inside the house. The officer said that this wiring was actually in the trashcan that Guffee had been dragging. 

The officer had also seen the top of a Craftsman rolling chair, made of metal and later identified as belonging to the homeowner, in the trashcan that Guffee had been dragging. 

Guffee said that a friend of his named Josh had told him to go to the residence and take the trashcan to the alleyway so he could pick it up. In a later interview, Josh said that Guffee had not been at his residence that day. 

Guffee told another officer that a black man named "Vernell" who was drunk and at Josh's house gave him $18 to come take the trashcan out to the alleyway. Guffee said that an electrician told him that there was wiring in the trashcan. The officer reported that Guffee later changed his story, saying that it was a plumber who told him about the items. Guffee also provided different locations than he was coming from. First he said he was coming from Josh's house and the later said he was coming from another subject, "Mike's" home. When it was brought to Guffee's attention that his story was changing, Guffee stated that the officers were making him nervous.

Based on the homeowners statement that the wiring had been inside the house, the back door to the residence was open, Guffee was located less than 100 feet from the back door possessing the stolen wire, Guffee was placed under arrest for second degree burglary. Guffee was also placed under arrest for possession of stolen property for allegedly taking the top of the rolling chair and copper.