Another copper theft is reported in the mountains. This time at a mining site in Knox County. Police say three people, including a former mine employee, were caught trying to take about 10 thousand dollars worth of copper cable and equipment from the mine on Friday.
Police say 31 year old Kenneth Williams and 32 year old Kevin Carnes, along with a 15 year old, were caught trying to steal 450 feet of copper mining cable and some other equipment from Alden Resource mine #3.
"I was angry because I've heard of this taking place all through the area and it's a big problem. It's an epidemic I think, this copper thievery," said Keith Smith, Alden Resource President.
Smith says the men entered the mine with a buggy and traveled 2000 feet inside the mine to get the items.
"We knew right away that it was somebody who had experience underground because a typical person off the street just would not go in an underground mine had they not had any experience underground."
Smith says Williams worked at the mine for one month about a year ago. Officials say they are not surprised by another copper theft.
"It has happened in the past just not to the extent it has happened now. We've noticed a number of our copper thefts quadruple in the last year and a half," said Rob Jones, Corbin Police Department.
Police say this constant problem is a sign of the hard economic times.
"It's just a quick easy buck. It's like picking up cans but copper is a lot more. It's a lot easier to get copper, pawn it and be gone," Jones explained.
Smith says while they already have a security guard at all of their mines, they are looking into installing security cameras after this incident.
Williams, Carnes and the 15-year old were all arrested and charged with theft by unlawful taking over 10 thousand dollars and criminal mischief.