Man accused of scamming church to steal copper

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

BELL COUNTY, Ky. and CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. (WYMT) - He claimed to be working for a Tennessee church, but Middlesboro Police say a man was actually stealing copper!

Middlesboro Police say David Todd Giles, 41, was buying copper from a store and billing it to the church in Claiborne County.

Ministry leaders say Giles bought thousands of dollars worth of copper before they figured out the alleged scheme.

Pump Springs Baptist Church leaders in Claiborne County, Tennessee say they thought Todd Giles was trying to help.

"Looking back, it's easy to see he's a really good con man," said Edwin Robertson.

Robertson says Giles did electrical work for the church's Servolution ministry at the old Powell Valley Vocational Building. Servolution is renovating the building into a free medical clinic.

When construction work stopped in July, police say Giles kept buying copper wiring at State Electric Supply Store in Middlesboro, claiming it was for the construction in Tennessee. He billed it to Pump Springs Baptist Church.

"Unknown to us. We had never given him any authorization to buy anything, anywhere," said Robertson.

Robertson says it appears Giles stole a Tennessee tax exempt form with Pump Springs Baptist Church's name on it and used it to bill the copper wiring to the church.

"After he would purchase it, he would take it to a recycling center and cash it in for the scrap value amount," said Lt. David Buis, Middlesboro Police Department.

Robertson says on August 2nd, a Tennessee election day, people at one precinct were discussing the construction project at the former Powell Valley Vocational Building. Robertson says a man who was connected to State Electric and a man connected to the scrap yard were both at the precinct and realized Giles was allegedly buying copper and selling it immediately.

Middlesboro Police say an investigation started then. Police say on August 3rd, they set up surveillance State Electric and caught Giles when he came to the store.

"That's when the investigation really kicked in," said Lt. Buis.

Middlesboro Police say in July and August, Giles made eleven purchases at State Electric totaling nearly $13,000. Investigators say he got $3,750 in cash from a recycling center in Bell County.

Middlesboro police arrested Giles on Friday, September 28th and charged him with theft by deception.

"Really seemed honest, but the con guys are the best at it," said Robertson.

Giles is being held in the Bell County Detention Center. Bond is $1,000 cash.

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