Two roofers have been charged with stealing dozens of copper lightning rods and 200 feet of woven copper cable last month from Joe Riley Park in downtown Charleston.
Charleston police charged Paul Grieves, 49, and Joseph Harrison, 48, with grand larceny in the $5,000 theft, police records show. Their address is listed as 2234 N. Westchester Drive, the same address as Coastal Roofing, which began renovation work on the stadium in March,
Investigators arrested them at the company Friday morning, police spokesman Charles Francis said.
The 60 12- to 14-inch rods worth $2,000 went missing in May along with 200 feet of woven copper cable, worth about $3,000, according to police.
On May 24, Harry Oliver, Coastal Roofing Co.’s superintendent, reported the theft to Charleston police and passed along his suspicions that some of his employees were involved, according to an incident report.
Oliver told police his company has been doing renovations on the stadium and materials had been set aside to be reused for the project, the report stated. He said the rods and cable had been removed from the building, placed on top of a roof at the park and covered with tarps, the report stated.
He told investigators that he discovered some of the materials were missing May 22. Once he realized what was missing, he discovered some of his workers had been involved in the theft, according to the report.
Oliver said to investigators that he checked with Charleston Steel and found out that some of his employees had sold the stolen items, the report stated.
Another of his employees later told Oliver that the workers would put the items in trash bags, place them in woods near the dumpster and retrieve them after Oliver would leave for the day, stated the report.
Oliver could not be reached for comment Friday.
The lucrative metal has been in high demand in recent years. So much so, that South Carolina passed a law in August 2011 in an effort to curb the copper thefts. The law requires anyone buying or selling copper to obtain a permit from their local sheriff’s offices.