Man charged for multiple copper thefts


SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Sevier County deputies say a man is in jail after robbing several cabins of copper.

Deputies say Richie Mason Kerr is in the Blount County Jail for charges related to metal thefts, and Sevier County plans to charge him with almost 15 different thefts.

Deputies say it is hard to track down who's responsible because cabins are left vacant for days and weeks at the time. They say it's also hard to tell exactly where a piece of wire came from. Captain Jeff McCarter with Sevier County Sheriff's Office said video surveillance linked Kerr with the crimes.

"It could be the same person that did all of them, it could be another group. Of course sometimes they don't admit to all the crimes they've committed also," said McCarter.

Knoxville Police say they've seen a decline in copper thefts after recent laws made it more difficult for thieves to sell the materials to scrap yards.

Chad Davis at Tennessee Metals said that business has declined after he started taking named and picture ID's of those selling.

"We do not want stolen material here, we do not condone theft in anyway. We do not want to make money as a company in any way from stolen materials," said Davis. "When these new laws were past it made it very difficult to go and steal copper."

Davis says he works with police closely and even holds money for a period of time to give police a chance to check out where the items came from.


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