One of three men accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of copper and brass from Federal Mogul in Smithville over an eight month period last year entered a plea and was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday.
Judge Gary McKenzie presided.
48 year old Martin Riley, III received a five year sentence after pleading guilty to theft of property over $10,000. The sentence is to run concurrently with another sentence he is now serving. Riley will be eligible for probation after serving 35% of the sentence as a range II multiple offender. He has been given jail credit since October, 2013. Riley must also make restitution.
The other two men, 57 year old Billy Joe Rigsby and 30 year old Corey Dickens were sentenced in February. Rigsby pled guilty to theft over $60,000 while Dickens entered a plea to theft over $10,000. Rigsby received a ten year sentence to serve at least 30% as a range one offender before parole eligibility. He was given jail credit of almost six months from August 13, 2013 to February 21, 2014. Rigsby also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of delivery of a schedule II drug and received a three year sentence in that case to run concurrently with the theft offense. He received a drug fine of $2,000.
Dickens received a five year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. He was given jail credit of almost six months from August 1, 2013 to February 21, 2014. Dickens and Rigsby are to make restitution jointly and severally to Federal Mogul in the amount of $109,771.
According to Smithville Police, the thefts occurred multiple times from December 2012 to August 2013 during the middle of the night after the second shift when no one else was at the plant. The intruders went under and over a fence, entered through an unlocked door at the receiving area behind the building, and loaded carts with 50 pound bags of almost pure grain copper, which is used in the manufacture of brake pads at the facility. In some cases, pieces of EDM brass were also stolen.
According to Lieutenant Matt Holmes, the investigation began after police first received a tip and then a formal complaint by an official of Federal Mogul. "We spoke to a representative of Federal Mogul who advised us that they had been suspecting some copper was being stolen. They placed a hidden camera out there. He (Federal Mogul official) provided us with some video. When we watched the video and through investigation, we were able to identify the two subjects on the video as Martin Riley and Billy Joe Rigsby," he said.
"They way they were doing it was after hours they were entering the building, loading up carts while no one else was there, and wheeling the carts out the back door. They would go during the times they (plant) were closed during the middle of the night and take anywhere from 10 to 25 to 30 bags at a time or however many they could get loaded and feasibly get out of there with. They went under the fence and loaded their truck," said Lieutenant Holmes.
After committing the thefts, the men allegedly sold the copper and brass at the Southern Central business in McMinnville. "He (Federal Mogul official) initially didn't know how much copper had been taken but they were working on doing an inventory so we started calling around, trying to locate the copper. We learned the copper had been sold to Southern Central in McMinnville," he said. "They would take the copper and brass to the scrap yard. In some cases, they transferred the copper from the bags they came in to totes to transport it to the scrap yard," said Lieutenant Holmes.
The investigation revealed that Rigsby and Dickens were allegedly partners in the crimes from December, 2012 to March, 2013, until Dickens was arrested on a separate charge. Rigsby then allegedly continued with the thefts from the plant and was allegedly joined by Riley, on at least one occasion, through August 4, 2013.
Riley's warrant stated that on August 4, 2013 at Federal Mogul, Riley was seen on video taking multiple bags of copper from the back door. This activity has been going on from June 1, 2013 to August 4, 2013. An estimated 45 bags of copper has been taken all valued at $18,000.
The case was investigated by Chief Randy Caplinger and Lieutenant Holmes.
In other cases, 31 year old April Anderson pled guilty to theft over $500 and received a one year sentence, suspended to community corrections. The term is to run concurrently with her Grundy County sentence. She is also to make restitution to the victim in the amount of $2,200.
51 year old Robert Jeffery League pled guilty to attempted sale of a schedule I drug and received a six year sentence. He was given jail credit of 242 days and will be on judicial diversion probation. His fine is $2,000.
57 year old Gary E. Woodard pled guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation except for 48 hours to serve. He was fined $360 and he will lose his driver's license for a year.
58 year old Johnny Trapp pled guilty to a fourth offense of driving under the influence. He received a two year sentence to serve and he will lose his license per Department of Safety rules. Trapp was fined $3,010 and given jail credit of 188 days.
41 year old Terry Burton pled guilty to reckless driving and received a six month suspended sentence and was fined $50. He will be on unsupervised probation.