CLINTON, MS (WLBT) - Clinton police arrested five people in a metal theft ring. The five suspects stole an estimated $150,000 in metal from a local industrial building.
According to Clinton Police, this began early in August of 2018. Several break-ins were reported at the former Delphi building on Industrial Park Road.
After investigating, police found that the suspects entered the building and removed the electrical wiring and other metal property inside.
On November 13, a Clinton Police Department supervisor found two suspects inside the building.
Steven Hampton and Antina Cox were inside the industrial building, believed to have been engaged in metal theft. Both suspects were arrested on site.
On November 14, a property manager of the industrial property was on scene when he could hear possible suspects on scene.
CPD patrol officers found one suspect inside, James “Ryan” Polk, and a maroon Toyota 4-Runner containing suspected stolen metal property and various other items taken out of the Delphi building.
It was determined that three additional suspects had hidden from the officers.
With the help of the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, Joshua Shelton and Krystal Rasnick have been charged and arrested in connection to the break-ins and thefts of metals from inside the Delphi Building.
The amount of metals and damages to the building have been estimated to be at least $150,000.00. Clinton Police noted that each of the suspects have a common trait; substance abuse.
Arrested and charged by the Clinton Police Department:
-Anita Cox, 42-year-old from Jackson, Mississippi. Charged on one count of criminal trespassing.
-Steven Hampton, 56-year-old convicted felon, from Jackson, Mississippi. Charged on one count of commercial burglary.
-James Polk, 35-year-old, from Jackson, Mississippi. Charged on one count of commercial burglary.
-Krystal Rasnick, 35-year-old, from Flora, Mississippi. Charged on one count of commercial burglary.
-Joshua Shelton, 40-year-old, from Flora, Mississippi. Charged on one count of commercial burglary.
Clinton Police say after the thieves steal the metal, they convert them into cash using middle men.
Once the suspect steals the metal, they will take it to someone who carries the metals to a scrap dealer/purchaser. The courier gets a percentage of the money earned by the weight of the metal property.
Clinton Police explained that most metal theft crimes can be eliminated if scrap yards followed state law and did their due diligence in the purchase of scrap metals.
Detectives with the Clinton Police Department stated that State Laws (SEC 97-17-71, Mississippi Code of 1972) are specifically designed to prevent stolen metal property from being purchased by scrap dealers/purchasers. However, some scrap purchasers in the state are not following proper procedure when taking in metal property.
Arrests in an auto theft ring investigated by multiple agencies, including the Clinton Police Department, show malfeasance and a lack of due diligence by scrap metal buyers.
In March of 2018, detectives were noticing that stolen vehicles were being sold as “tin” and the vehicle identification numbers were not being reported and/or were altered as to not flag as stolen item.
Clinton Police are putting metal thieves and unscrupulous scrap metal buyers on notice, stating “these scrap purchasers know who they are and we are watching.”
Approximately one dozen additional suspects have been named and additional arrests are anticipated as the investigation moves forward.