Man pleads guilty to copper thefts from plant
A man accused of stealing copper from an inactive Russellville mobile home plant last September pleaded guilty on Wednesday to theft charges.
Stephen Wayne Mitchell, 20, 2900 Waldrep Loop, Leighton, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft of property and received a 10-year sentence split with two years to serve followed by five years of probation, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said.
Mitchell and four other men were arrested in connection to the crime after authorities received information that someone had been stealing from the former Lakota Homes plant located in the Russellville Industrial Park No. 2.
After setting up surveillance at the plant, a team of officers from the Russellville Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and DA investigators caught four of the men stealing copper from equipment located inside the building.
Mitchell was not at the plant when the four other men were caught but was arrested at a later date for his role in previous thefts at the plant.
Damages totaling over $154,00 were reported by the owner of the building and payment of restitution was a condition included in the plea, Rushing said.
“Our goal in these cases was to make sure each of the individuals involved in causing a large amount of damage at this local business served a definite sentence in prison,” Rushing said. “We also want to make sure they are responsible for paying the restitution owed in this case, which Mr. Mitchell will be required to start doing once he is on probation.”
Two of Mitchell’s co-defendants have already pleaded guilty and are currently serving time in jail. Christopher Dewayne Mooney, pleaded guilty in June to third-degree burglary and Michael Wade Logan pleaded guilty in August to third degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief.
The two remaining co-defendants, Wesley Shane Edgemon, 22, of Russellville; and Deenytric O’Neal Neloms, 19, of Leighton are still awaiting trial.