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Copper wire clipped from I-69 light poles; 2 charged

Rolls of copper wire in a pickup truck bed and clippers on the driver led to theft charges for two northwest Indiana men on Monday night.

Following up on a rash of copper wire thefts in and around Fort Wayne, Indiana State Police troopers were in the area of Interstate 68 and Indiana 8 about 10:40 p.m. when they saw a couple of men walking from the interchange to a Ford pickup truck in the Home Depot parking lot.

State police said the truck pulled onto the exit ramp to southbound I-69 and then stopped, with two men getting out and loading something into the bed.

The truck then stopped at I-69 and DeKalb County Road 11A at Exit 326, and troopers pulled up behind them. They reported seeing 10 rolls of insulated copper wire in the back, and the clippers were found in one of the men’s pants pockets.

State police said they checked light poles and found the wire had been cut and removed from four of them. The estimated value of the wire is between $2,000 and $3,000.

The driver, Ryan S. Self, 29, of Chesterton, and the passenger, Jerone Dunams, 36, of Gary were arrested on a preliminary charge of theft.