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Copper thief off to prison

A man caught and convicted of stealing copper from an empty house and battering the men who found him was sent to prison for 40 years Friday.

Aaron McGhee, 50, was convicted in October of two of the three counts against him – burglary resulting in bodily injury and battery committed by means of a deadly weapon.

He was acquitted of a second charge of battery committed by means of a deadly weapon.

Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck heard of McGhee’s lengthy criminal record, which began in 1991 and included four felonies. McGhee, through his attorney, maintained his innocence, but Surbeck accepted the jury’s verdict.

He sentenced McGhee to a total of 40 years in prison. McGhee said he intends to appeal.

He was arrested in May, caught by two men as he was cutting copper from an empty house.

Carrying lopping shears, a long-handled tool used for pruning, McGhee had cut the copper wiring and plumbing in the basement of the home, according to court documents.

The owner of the house and his employee caught McGhee, who then hit the owner in the right shoulder and the employee in the knee with the shears, according to court documents.