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Police and fire

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2 arrested in highway wire thefts

Two northwest Indiana men were arrested Monday night after state troopers found rolls of copper wire and wire cutters in the truck they were driving.

Indiana State Police troopers, following up on a lead about copper wire thefts in and around the Fort Wayne area, were driving in the area of Interstate 69 and Indiana 8 near Auburn when they saw two men walking from the interchange to a truck parked in a nearby lot, police said.

The men got into the Ford pickup truck in the Home Depot parking lot and pulled onto the access ramp from Indiana 8 to I-69, police said.

At the end of the ramp, the pickup stopped, both men got out and loaded an object from the shoulder of the road into the bed of the Ford truck, police said.

The troopers followed the truck southbound on I-69 until the driver stopped on the shoulder of the exit ramp for County Road 11A, police said.

The officers found 10 rolls of insulated copper wire in the bed of the truck and a pair of wire cutters in the driver’s pants pocket.

One of the officers checked the light poles at the interchange and found that wire had been cut and removed from four of them.

The estimated cost of the wire is $2,000 to $3,000, police said.

The driver, Ryan S. Self, 29, of Chesterton, and his passenger, Jerone Dunams, 36, of Gary, each was arrested on a charge of felony theft.

Both were being held at the DeKalb County Jail. Dunams was being held in lieu of $1,500 bail, and Self was being held in lieu of $2,500 bail.

jcrothers@jg.net

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