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.