News

Last plea in copper case

Eight persons now sentenced in connection with Alcoa thefts

Almost two years after guards at Alcoa's Rockdale Operations became suspicious of activity around a truck in the pre-dawn hours, the final person of eight arrested in connection with a series of copper thefts was sentenced.

Donnell Anthony Robinson, 21 of Bryan, a former Cameron resident, pleaded guilty to engaging in organized criminal activity last week on 20th District Court.

Judge Ed Magre sentenced Robinson to a 10-year prison term, probated five years, and ordered him to pay $74,633.40 in restitution.

That's the same sentence four other person received in connection with the series of incidents.

A fifth, identified by investigators as the "mastermind" of the theft ring, drew 10 years in prison.

Suspicions

The case began in the early hours of June 13, 2007, with suspicions about a truck, which had formerly been used to service "port-a-potties" at the aluminum plant.

Deputy Sheriff Beathard said authorities received a tip from Alcoa security officer Ward Roddam the suspicious truck was making nightly visits to the plant.

That led to a stakeout overnight June 9-10. During the nig ht Beat ha rd sa id A lcoa security officer Mike Wanoreck reported two men had gone to a copper stockpile and loaded several copper bars onto a truck.

That led to a confrontation, during which Precinct 3 Constable Herbie Vaughan's patrol car, containing drug dogs Char and PC, was rammed.

Neither Vaughan, nor the dogs, were injured.

Arrests A rrested during the con- frontation were Larence Danney Williams, 46, and 35-year-old Adrien Lawson, both of Bryan.

Cervenka said Williams had been employed by a firm which had supplied "port-a-potties" to Alcoa.

"That contract had expired," Cervenka said. "The truck returned, without permission of the owners."

Williams, identified by investigators as the "mastermind" of the theft ring drew a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, theft ($1,500 to $20,000) and engaging in organized criminal activity.

L awson pleaded g uilt y to engaging in organized criminal activity and received the same sentence as Robinson, 10-year prison sentenced probated five years and $74,633.40 in restitution.

Theft ring

In the subsequent investigation, four more persons were named by police as members of the theft ring and arrested.

Fredrick Burrell Jr., 20, 46- year-old Barbara Ann Adams and 53-year-old Milton Louis Mitchell, all of Bryan, received identical sentences after accepting plea bargains.

Those four, along with Williams, were each ordered to pay $74,633.40 in restitution.

Court records allege copper was taken from Alcoa's Rockdale Operations at least five times and sold at a Bryan iron and metal business.

None of the six persons identified as theft ring members were present or former Alcoa employees.

Separate charges

However, during the investigation, officers received information which led to the arrest of two longtime Alcoans on separate charges of taking copper from the aluminum company.

Willie Lee Everline, 60, of Somerville, and Ellis Douglas Sr., 52, of Rockdale received two-year sentences, probated for three years, in connection with those charges.


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2009-05-28 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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