Accused scrap-metal thief appears in court |

Accused scrap-metal thief appears in court

A 25-year-old Midvale man is accused of stealing a load of copper wire from a gravel pit near Coalville in order to sell the valuable metal to a scrap yard on the Wasatch Front, authorities say.

Geary Construction reported the theft to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Jan. 9.

Replacing the stolen wire cost Geary Construction more than $4,100, according to Third District Court information filed by Summit County prosecutors.

County Attorney David Brickey says evidence left at the scene by suspect Justin Douglas Griffith included tire tracks, footprints, a cigarette box, a glove and tote bag.

When forensics experts examined the tote for fingerprints a positive match for Griffith was discovered, court papers state.

Investigators say tire tracks and footprints found at Geary Construction were similar to evidence recovered at other crime scenes where metal was stolen in the county.

"Investigators for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office have received information from informants on who the possible suspect is," papers filed by prosecutors state. "The suspect has sold numerous amounts of copper wire to Western Metals Recycling in [Salt Lake City] over the past few months and the dates on the invoices are consistent to the dates of this specific theft and other thefts that have occurred recently."

Griffith appeared in court for a roll call hearing Tuesday. This week the suspect was being held in the Summit County Jail with bail set at $25,000.

If convicted of theft, a third-degree felony, Griffith could be sentenced to serve up to five years in prison and pay a $5,000 fine.

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