Cops: Copper thieves caught in the act

CLAVERACK–State Police conducted overnight surveillance April 19 at a Claverack business and saw two suspects in the act of stealing copper wire and tubing. Both subjects fled on foot but were apprehended by troopers a short distance away. So far, the investigation has resulted in one of the suspects—Ronald K. Oakley, 45, of Chatham, being charged with 10 felonies, 1 misdemeanor and 1 violation.
Police say Mr. Oakley, who is out of jail on parole, is responsible for committing numerous burglaries and larcenies in Columbia County since his release from prison September 2009.
Mr. Oakley allegedly targeted houses and buildings that appeared to be abandoned and stole primarily copper piping, tools and electronics.
Mr. Oakley was arraigned in Claverack Court on four counts of second degree burglary, five counts of third degree burglary, one count of third degree grand larceny, one count of fourth degree attempted grand larceny and one count of trespass. He was sent to the Columbia County jail.
Mr. Oakley’s parole officer has been notified of the situation and a parole violation order is expected. State Police are continuing the investigation to determine the involvement of the other person apprehended as well as other associates. Additional arrests are anticipated.

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