Copper Theft Leads to Charges in OKC

An admitted copper thief in Oklahoma City is charged with 7 counts of larceny, burglary and other charges in relation to the theft of copper from an abandoned Walmart store.

Oklahoma County prosecutors filed charges this week against Jeffrey Vaughn Stein, 54, of McCloud.  He allegedly broke into the store at 6000 NW 23rd street in December 2017 and twice in January 2018.

During the January break-ins, police say he broke water lines causing flooding in the empty building and resulting in more than  $25,000 damage.

Video surveillance recorded his pickup truck parked behind the building on Dec. 31, 2017 and again on January 6, 2018 and January 7, 2018.

The police report indicated the flood damage was first reported by the Oklahoma City water department on Jan. 8, 2018. The property manager discovered the “roof hatch to Walmart had been opened and water was leaking from a cut large diameter copper pipe. Water had damaged the ceiling tiles and flooded the floor.”

Based on the surveillance video, police obtained the license plate number of Stein’s vehicle and contacted him. He voluntarily came to police headquarters to be interviewed and “confessed to stealing copper from the Walmart Neighborhood Market rooftop HVAC units.” He also admitted to “possibly stepping on or breaking a copper pipe inside Walmart, causing the water leak, and then walking through the water.”

Turned out Stein was a multiple convicted felon and was still on probation out of Oklahoma County for Forgery and Burglary from convictions in 2012.