SWITZER, W.Va. — A Switzer man has been charged with conspiracy in the theft of copper tubing from a construction site.
According to a complaint filed by West Virginia State Trooper S.M. Thompson, he received a complaint of stolen copper from the construction site of a new apartment complex located at 4801 Jerry West Highway in the community of Switzer on April 17.
Through the investigation, Thompson was able to develop Cleveland Earling Hammonds, 27, of Switzer, as a person of interest. Thompson reports he received a number of anonymous tips and several statements implicating Hammonds as the individual responsible for breaking into five separate units of the apartment complex and stealing approximately $1,000 worth of one-inch copper tubing from each.
Thompson reports he was able to determine that the said tubing had been briefly stored in an outbuilding located on the property nearby. A statement from a cooperating individual also advised Thompson that they had observed the defendant in the area of the crime with tools in hand and that they had saw the defendant walking across the road with an armful of copper. Thompson also spoke to the owner of the outbuilding who alleges Hammonds had told them he had stolen the copper.
Thompson reports that he located Hammonds on Pine Street in Logan at which time he fled from Thompson.
Following the arrest of Hammonds, Thompson reports he conducted an audio recorded, mirandized interview in which Hammonds confessed to conspiring with Gregory Allan Sparks to commit the crimes. Hammonds reportedly confessed that he had borrowed the tools used from the outbuilding owner and that he had no further involvement past the planning stage of the crime.
Hammonds was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and fleeing from officers. His bond was set at $7,500.
Sparks was also charged with conspiracy to commit a felony. His bail was set at $5,000.
Criminal complaints are public information. Charges listed in a complaint are merely accusations; defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Martha Sparks is a news reporter and can be reached at 304-752-6950, ext. 1728, or via Twitter at @MarthaSparks.