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Police say they halted copper wire theft

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January 12, 2011
— Police say they tracked footprints in the snow for more than three miles Tuesday to catch a burglar who was trying to steal copper wire from an Alliant Energy substation.

Brett A. Prater, 49, whose last known address was in Beloit, was arrested on charges of criminal damage to property, criminal trespass, attempted theft, obstructing and a warrant issued through probation and parole, said Sgt. Dean Sukus of the Janesville Police Department.


Officers responded at 2:30 a.m. to 540 W. Delavan Drive where they found somebody had cut a hole in the fence and was in the process of cutting grounding copper wire from the transformers.


"It was all piled up and ready to go, but we must have spooked him off,'' Sukus said.


After finding and following the footprints, officers took Prater into custody in the 2000 block of South Jackson Street, Sukus said.


Police are continuing their investigation of destruction caused to the transformer, Sukus said.



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