Delaware State Police have arrested two people believed to have stolen copper from irrigation equipment in Kent County from November 2009 to May 2010.


Delaware State Police have arrested two people believed to have stolen copper from irrigation equipment in Kent County from November 2009 to May 2010.

On July 26, police arrested James D. Murphy, 31, of Camden, and Eva L. Rodriguez, 20, of Lincoln, each on 33 charges ranging from burglary to theft of copper from 16 different locations, said police spokesman Cpl. Bruce Harris.

The majority of the thefts occurred in the Smyrna, Dover, Camden, Felton and Harrington areas of Kent County. Some of the locations where the crimes occurred are owned by farms while others are individually owned and operated businesses.

Police developed the suspects through interviews and also scrap metal receipts obtained from various scrap metal facilities throughout Delaware, Harris said. Murphy and Rodriguez allegedly would burn the plastic covering off the copper wire and take the copper to Cannon’s Salvage, Fitzgerald’s Salvage, Diamond State Salvage and Terrapin’s Salvage.

A burn pit was discovered at Murphy and Rodriguez’s residence.

Murphy and Rodriquez allegedly earned $7,526 compared to the $127,110 worth of theft of copper wire and damage done to the field irrigation equipment, Harris said. Murphy and Rodriguez removed approximately 19,149 feet of copper wire, which is equivalent to 3.6 miles.

Both Murphy and Rodriguez were each charged with 16 counts of theft $1,500 or greater, five counts of theft under $1,500, five counts of third-degree criminal trespass, one count of second-degree criminal trespass, one count of second-degree conspiracy, three counts of criminal mischief, one count of third-degree burglary, and one count of possession of burglar tools.

Murphy was remanded to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in lieu of $32,250 secured bond.

Rodriguez was remanded to the Women’s Correctional Institution in lieu of $11,400 secured bond.

Police continue to ask citizens to report suspicious activity near farm fields by calling 911 or the nearest state police troop.