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Ex-mine worker pleads guilty to copper theft

Posted: Monday, January 12, 2009

FAIRBANKS - A former truck driver has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $50,000 in copper wire from the Pogo Mine.

Forty-five-year-old Mark Garwood pleaded guilty Friday as part of a plea deal. Prosecutors lowered the count from first- to second-degree theft in exchange for his plea.

Assistant District Attorney Ben Seekins says Garwood is assisting the state in its investigation and has agreed to testify against co-defendant Simeon Staley, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports.

The first-degree theft case against the 25-year-old Staley is pending. Garwood faces up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine; sentencing has been tentatively scheduled for May.

Alaska State Troopers believe that Staley, who was employed at the mine, would load copper and other items onto a truck driven by Garwood.

With the rising price of metals, copper has become an attractive target for thieves. Copper can bring up to $1.50 a pound.



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