Waseca County authorities charged a Waterville man for burglary and drug possession following a report of stolen copper wire and scrap metal at a Janesville business.
Alex Tanner Vincent, 27, is charged with possession of burglary or theft tools and fifth-degree drug possession, both felony charges.
On Sept. 11, Janesville Police Chief David Ulmen briefed a Janesville officer on a theft that occurred on Sept. 10 at a local business. A business owner in Janesville reported copper wire and scrap metal stolen from their property and had video surveillance of the suspected vehicle and person.
According to the complaint, the video showed a maroon Chevrolet Suburban at the business at 5 p.m. on Sept. 10 with one person loading copper wire and scrap metal into the vehicle. Then at 8 p.m. the same Suburban returned with two people loading an air conditioning unit and a furnace into the vehicle.
On Sept. 15 the same Janesville officer observed the suspected Suburban driving through the alley between the Janesville Police Station and main street businesses.
The officer followed the vehicle to a gravel lot of another local business and stopped the vehicle after informing a second officer of doing so. Once the vehicle stopped, the officer approached it and informed the male driver that the vehicle was seen on video surveillance taking copper and scrap metal, according to the complaint.
The driver of the Suburban, who police identified as Vincent, allegedly acknowledged that he had been in the city the week prior and collected items from the business in Janesville with permission to do so from the owner.
While the first officer spoke with Vincent the second officer observed from the passenger side of the Suburban.
The first officer took the driver’s license of the male to run it in the squad car while the second officer continued to observe. The second officer noticed tin snips, bolt cutters, a reciprocating saw, a grinder and other tools in the vehicle often used in burglaries, according to the police report. The first officer also noticed gloves and a flashlight in the center console.
The first officer stayed in the squad car and called the business owner asking if they knew the suspect, Vincent, while the second officer spoke with Vincent in his Suburban. The business owner said they didn’t know Vincent, according to the police report.
After the phone call, video surveillance and observation, the two officers decided to search Vincent’s vehicle based on probable cause.
The first officer asked Vincent to step out of the vehicle and when asked to step out of the vehicle Vincent asked if he could pay for the scrap metal and things that he took instead, according to the complaint.
The first officer searched the vehicle and Vincent allegedly informed them of a pill bottle in the center console. He stated that the bottle label is a different prescription than what the bottle actually contained.
While the first officer conducted the search, a Waseca County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived to assist and suggested that the business owner be called to come and identify Vincent and the Suburban, based on the video surveillance footage.
The business owner allegedly identified the suspect, Vincent, based on photos from their surveillance system showing Vincent and the vehicle in question. Before the traffic stop Vincent allegedly stopped at the business again, according to the business owner.
At this time the property owner of the gravel lot arrived and stated Vincent stopped at his business before as well. Vincent allegedly asked if he could collect scrap from the salvage pile and was told no and to leave by the owner.
Through the search, the officers collected a total of $7,070 in cash, a reciprocating saw, drills, bag of tools, flashlight, heat lamp, miscellaneous tools, gloves and a prescription bottle with different prescription pills.
The business owner, who called the police, identified color-coated wiring in the back of the Suburban that belonged to them, according to the police report and the owner gave a rough estimate of the stolen items at a value of about $250-300.
The sheriff’s deputy brought Vincent into the county jail on Sept. 15.