Couple charged with copper theft from UI construction project
URBANA — A Longview couple has been charged with felony theft for allegedly stealing copper that was intended for use in a project on the University of Illinois campus.
James Vitton, 52, and Cheryl Smith, 52, were each arraigned in Champaign County Circuit Court Monday on a single count of theft alleging that between Oct. 1 and 16, they stole several hundred pounds of copper sheets that were being used at the Education Building on South Sixth Street, and recycled the copper for cash.
UI Police Lt. Matt Myrick said the contractor contacted police on Oct. 16 to report that a large pile of copper sheets, about 3 feet square, had been significantly reduced during September and October.
A patrol officer went to Mack's Recycling in Urbana and Marco Recycling in Champaign and described what had been taken. Employees at both places were able to lead him to Vitton and Smith. Police also learned that Vitton had been previously employed by the contractor working on the project, Myrick said.
Myrick said the pair sold about $1,900 worth of copper at Marco and about $1,800 at Mack's.
Both were told to be back in court Dec. 10.