Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville police arrest three in copper thefts


Westerville police, with support from the Delaware County Drug Task Force, arrested two adults and a juvenile in connection with dozens of thefts of copper wire from businesses around central Ohio.

Glenn E. Simpson, 21, of Columbus and Melissa D. Goldsmith, 21, of Pataskala were arrested Nov. 14, as they attempted to steal copper wire from a commercial site near U.S. Route 23 and Lazelle Road.

A juvenile also was arrested, but he has not yet been charged.

The trio had been under surveillance for the past two days when they were witnessed by police attempting to steal copper wire from the commercial site, said Westerville Police Lt. Paul Scowden.

The Westerville Division of Police still is investigating copper thefts locally and reviewing cases from neighboring jurisdictions, including Columbus and other northern suburbs, to see if others can be connected to Simpson and Goldsmith, Scowden said.

They already are believed to be connected with dozens, Scowden said, cashing in thousands of dollars of copper wire and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

The thieves struck businesses at night, doing minor electrical work to allow access to the wire, which they then cut, Scowden said.

Electrical scorch marks were found on some of their tools, and they were lucky not to have been electrocuted as they worked, Scowden said.

“You would have to have a little bit of an electrical knowledge, and luck is on your side that you’re not going to get fried because this is not normal, everyday stuff,” he said, adding that the team worked at night when visibility was low. “They got lucky that they’re not dead. On some of the tools that we took, they could see where there probably was some arching going on when they were cutting it.”