RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Thieves determined to get cash from stolen copper, stripped the downspouts from a Chesterfield home, and they did it while driving a company truck with the homeowner inside the house.
Police put handcuffs on two men who worked for Affordable Roofing, Inc. The company owner disavows any knowledge of what his two employees were up to.
Based on what the homeowner tells me, these suspects sunk to new depths. Gene Hulbert heard strange noises and walked out to investigate when he saw a man moving by his window.
"I got out the door. There was somebody standing here like this. And I said, 'what are you doing?' He said, 'I'm fixing it,'" said Gene.
He wasn't fixing it and the homeowner had not called for any home repairs. So, when a second guy walked up, Gene grew cautious. But, by this time, the men had already taken two copper downspouts and were working on a third one.
Oblivious to the crime in progress, Gene questioned the men who concocted a story about being lost and at the wrong address. They drove away and Gene called police and reported what he saw.
"A red dump truck, black body, "Affordable Roofing" on its side as plain as day. I have to say I let them go. I did not want a confrontation," said Gene.
Gene believes the men didn't know he was home, and his neighbors saw a company work truck and thought nothing of two guys tearing downspouts from his home.
"The company simply did not supervise them properly. Whether they knew or not, I have no idea," Gene said.
A surveillance camera caught the two selling the hot copper 30 minutes later, at a scrap metal yard on Midlothian Turnpike.
"We're still working on this one. One subject was taken into custody in the last couple of days here. So there are still a lot of questions that we need to ask," said Sgt. David Higgings of the Chesterfield Police Department.
I asked Affordable Roofing owner, Grover Montgomery, about his now ex-employees.
"I certainly don't condone it, and I certainly hope they're punished for it, and I will do everything I possibly can to get them as much time as I possibly can," said Montgomery.
He says Jordan Peck was a new hire. The day of the theft was his first day on the job. Chesterfield police arrested him.
Michael Crawford worked for him for 20 years. Richmond police picked him up on outstanding warrants including domestic assault and driving on a suspended license.
"I would have never ever dreamed that this would happen," Montgomery said.
Affordable Roofing, Inc. says the men were supposed to have been on job near Stony Point. When police alerted the company, it was the owner who tracked them down and provided information so they could be arrested.
"I'm on the victim side. Neither one of them works here and will never work here again," said Montgomery.
Affordable Roofing has been in business 54 years, and has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.
Jordan Peck and Michael Crawford are charged with grand larceny and go to court December 15th. I'm told they got about $30 for the copper.
The homeowner says he called 12 to alert others to be nosey neighbors, even if everything appears legit.