In the last week, Joliet police have nabbed burglars in the process of hauling copper pipes out of three different houses undergoing rehab, Joliet Cmdr. Al Roechner said Monday.
Copper has become a coveted commodity, and police are getting one or two reports of it being stolen from homes on a weekly basis, Roechner said. According to online sites, half-inch pipes can sell for anywhere from $11.40 to nearly $20 for a 4-foot length.
At about Friday, a neighbor alerted police to an ongoing theft at an empty residence at 118 E. Washington St., Roechner said. Outside the house, they found a green Jeep Cherokee that had been filled with appliances -- including a new furnace -- apparently lifted from the home, he said.
Inside, they found Arthur James Flowers, 52, of 657 Abe St., Joliet, as he was removing copper gas line pipes, Roechner said.
Flowers took off on foot, leading police on a two-block chase that ended at 25 S. Eastern Ave. Even then, he didn't want to give up the fight, pushing an officer to the ground before finally being apprehended, Roechner said.
Flowers faces charges of residential burglary, aggravated battery, possession of burglary tools and resisting/obstructing a peace officer.
He's being held in the Will County jail in lieu of $25,000 bond. Court records show he was arrested earlier this year for felony theft and for criminal sexual assault/force in 2010.
Just three days earlier, on Nov. 20, police came upon a similar situation -- four people removing copper from an empty home at 908 E. Cass St., which is also being rehabbed, Roechner said.
The four had apparently stayed in the house overnight and were observed by neighbors going in and out of the residence from about 11:20 a.m. until almost 3 p.m., he said.
Unlike Flowers, they didn't put up a fight when caught by police and confessed to stealing copper from that house and others, selling it at Berlinsky Scrap Corp. in Joliet.
Arrested in the case were Danielle Marie Ho, 18, 21752 W. Knollwood, Plainfield; Alphanso D. Carter, 21, 2200 Oneida, Joliet; Johnathan A. Carter, 23, 350 Washington St., Joliet; and Timothy E. Jones, 26, 201 Davis St., Joliet.
Ho and Jones were charged with two counts of burglary and the Carter brothers with one. All four are being held in the Will County jail, Jones and Johnathan Carter in lieu of $50,000 bond, Ho in lieu of $35,000 bond and Alphanso Carter in lieu of $25,000 bond.
According to jail records, the Carters were arrested in 2011 on charges of aggravated battery and mob action.
The first case of an arrest in a copper theft was reported by Joliet Patch on Nov. 15. In that case, Anthony Edwards, 22, and Calvin J. Thompson, 29, both of Joliet, were nabbed at about 4 a.m. inside a city-owned house at 208 Mound that is being remodeled by the Joliet's Neighborhood Services Department.
Both men were charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools and criminal damage to property and are being held in Will County jail, Edwards in lieu of $100,000 bond and Thompson in lieu of $50,000 bond.