Police: Alleged thief asked if selling copper was a felony

Aug. 23, 2013 at 5:10 PM

DELEON SPRINGS, Fla., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said an alleged copper thief was arrested after asking scrap yard workers if selling stolen metal was a misdemeanor or a felony.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said deputies tracked down Raymond Clifton, 31, of DeLeon Springs, after workers at a scrap yard reported he had asked about whether stealing and selling copper was a misdemeanor or felony offense, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Friday.

"Workers at the scrap yard thought it odd when Clifton mentioned a recent news story about someone who had been arrested for selling stolen copper and then asked if the crime was a misdemeanor or felony offense," sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught said.

Investigators said Clifton allegedly sold large amounts of copper on 17 occasions beginning in June and netted a total $5,300.

Clifton's employer, an electrical business, was contacted by deputies and carried out an internal probe that determined 1,911 pounds of copper was missing.

Clifton was arrested on a charge of dealing in stolen property and jailed in lieu of $10,000 bond.

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