Federal Mogul Copper Thieves Sentenced in Criminal Court

February 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Billy Joe Rigsby
Corey Dickens

Two men accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of copper and brass from Federal Mogul in Smithville last year were sentenced Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge David Patterson presided.

56 year old Billy Joe Rigsby pleaded guilty to theft over $60,000 while 29 year old Corey 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.

The case against a third defendant, 46 year old Martin Riley, III is still pending.

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.

The case was investigated by Chief Randy Caplinger and Lieutenant Holmes.

In other cases, 31 year old Joseph Huff Ray pleaded guilty Friday to theft over $1,000. He received a three year sentence to serve at 30% before his release eligibility date. The term is to run concurrently with another sentence against him. He was given jail credit from June 27, 2013 to February 21, 2014. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, June 27 Ray allegedly took a 1988 Ford Ranger pickup valued at $5,000 from a residence on Game Ridge Road. He allegedly wrote a statement admitting to taking the truck. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

26 year old Molly Lawrence pleaded guilty to two counts of theft over $1,000. She received a four year suspended sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other. She must make restitution of $2,500 to one victim and $2,908 to another. Her payment is $250 per month as a condition of probation.

30 year old Ryan Lee Walden pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft over $1,000. He received a five year sentence for the aggravated burglary, all suspended to supervised probation except for one year to serve. Walden also received a three year sentence in the theft case, all suspended to supervised probation. The two sentences are to run concurrently with each other. Walden must pay restitution of $60 to one victim and $5,649 to the other. He was given jail credit from August 16, 2013 to February 21, 2014. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, July 31 the victim, who resides on Allen Ferry Road, reported that sets of Bone China plates, cups, and bowls had gone missing from the home. Walden was found to have sold these items to an auction house in DeKalb County. The value of the stolen items was more than $1,000.

21 year old Terry Jones, III pleaded guilty by information to two counts of burglary. He received a three year sentence in one case and two years in the other. The terms are to run consecutively with each other for a total of five years but concurrently with another case. He was given jail credit from January 25 to February 21, 2014. According to Sheriff Ray, Jones allegedly broke into a residence on Dale Ridge Road on Friday, January 17 and stole several items including a 2003 Red Honda 250 Recon ATV, a Remington Model 870 Shotgun, Insulated Carhartt Jacket, Trail Cameras, a full box of 12 gauge shotgun shells, eight bottles of whiskey, and one Igloo cooler. Six days later, on Thursday January 23, Jones allegedly broke into a garage on Johnson Ridge Road and took a Yamaha Kodiak 400 four wheeler, valued at $4,000. The case was investigated by a deputy of the Sheriff's Department.

31 year old Jonathan McCormick pleaded guilty to burglary and theft over $1,000. He received a three year sentence in each case. The two sentences are to run concurrently with each other but consecutively with a three year sentence he received after pleading guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance. His total sentence is six years but it has all been suspended to supervised probation except for 120 days to serve. He was fined $2,000 and given jail credit from January 15 to February 21, 2014. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 8 McCormick allegedly entered an outbuilding on Lee Braswell Road and took from the property a John Deere riding mower and an air compressor. The total estimated value is $6,829. The case was investigated by criminal detectives of the sheriff's department. McCormick was also among those named in sealed indictments by the Grand Jury last month after a three month undercover drug investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

25 year old Brandon Wayne Hutchings and 25 year old Jessica Anne Jenkins each pleaded guilty to promotion of meth manufacture and auto burglary. Each received a three year sentence on the meth charge and two years for the auto burglary. The two sentences for Hutchings are to run consecutively with each other for a total of five years. The terms for Jenkins are to run concurrently with each other for total of three years. She has been granted judicial diversion probation. Hutchings was given jail credit from August 7, 2013 to February 21, 2014. Smithville Police Sergeant Bradley Tatrow stopped Jenkins' vehicle on July 21, 2013 for a traffic violation. Sergeant Tatrow noticed that the driver, Hutchings, had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. When Hutchings was asked to empty his pockets, a pill believed to be morphine was discovered. Police asked Jenkins for permission to search her vehicle but she refused. K-9 Officer Cornelius was then called for assistance. Jenkins' vehicle was searched after K-9 LEO was deployed and alerted on the automobile. Several items were found during the search known to be used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine. On the same day, July 21, 2013 Sheriff Ray said that Hutchings and Jenkins were charged with breaking into and taking a purse from a vehicle parked at Sligo bridge. Entry was gained by breaking out a rear window on the passenger side causing $300 in damage. The purse contained a wallet, pants, tank top, and a belt, all valued at less than $500. Hutchings and Jenkins were arrested some two hours later. Found on Hutchings was the victim's identification.

35 year old Jenadiah Barnes pleaded guilty to one count of forgery and received a two year sentence to serve. The term is to run concurrently with another TDOC sentence against him. He must make restitution of $980. Barnes was given jail credit from December 2012 to February 21, 2014. Sheriff Ray said that Barnes allegedly passed six forged checks at Prichard's Foods in Alexandria in the amounts of $135 and $100 on June 22, 2011; $135 and $160 on June 24, 2011; and $225 and $225 on June 29, 2011 The name of the victim was forged on the checks without authorization.

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