Police: 2 Men Caught Red-Handed Stealing $20K of Copper Wire


Colorado Springs police say they've caught two guys responsible for stealing more than $20,000 in copper wire out of city-owned light poles.

Police say on April 21, Colorado Springs Utilities discovered that copper wire had been stolen from a light pole in the area of Interstate I-25 and Uintah.

Utility crews then noticed several additional light poles that had been “prepped”. Police say prepping is a tactic commonly used by copper thieves in which the access panel to the pole is removed, and the wiring within the pole cut. This action essentially prepares the pole so that the wiring may be easily and quickly removed at a later time.

A Police Metal Theft Investigative Team comprised of four patrol officers, a detective, and a sergeant responded to investigate. The team set up surveillance and were able to catch the two suspects stealing more wire at 2:30 a.m. on April 22.

When taken into custody, the suspects, now identified as 50-year-old Michael Filonowich and 48-year-old Michael Luedke, were in possession of tools commonly used to prepare light poles.

Investigators say Filonowich and Luedke are responsible for $20,000 worth of damage and theft from poles along I-25 between Bijou Street and Fillmore Street.

Both were placed in CJC on a class 3 felony charge of Theft. If anyone has information about copper thefts, please call police at 719-444-7000. If you would like to remain anonymous you can call Crime-stoppers at 719-634-STOP (7867) or you can simply text CSPD and your tip to 847411 (TIP411).

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 23, 2011 at 05:27 AM
    Shouldn't we consider they may have needed the money to feed their families (just kidding)? I think our "President" would think so. They should have asked for a government handout instead. I like Kirk's idea but then we'd have to pay them disability.
  • by Kirk Location: Colorado Springs on Apr 22, 2011 at 07:53 PM
    Saudi Arabia has the PERFECT method to deal with theft,and I think these men deserve to pick their noses and wipe their butts with their elbows, if you know what I mean!
  • by James Location: Pine Creek on Apr 22, 2011 at 05:47 PM
    Maybe that police unit can start looking at the theft of back flow valves. The Pine Creek Village Association has lost twelve valves since the first of the year, that latest three while the water was turned on, causing an additional loss in lost water.
    • reply
      by MacAdo on Apr 23, 2011 at 04:59 AM in reply to James
      I have three backflow valves to replace as well, that were stolen from customers. I don't think the police should be handling every instance. But the metal recyclers need to take a tougher stance on what and who they buy from.
  • by anon Location: cs on Apr 22, 2011 at 05:18 PM
    And people complain that the city hasn't turned all the streetlights back on yet... but thanks to jack---es like these two, it may be more time before the city can get around to finishing turning them all back on! @Joe... I totally agree!!
  • by Joe Location: Monument on Apr 22, 2011 at 03:56 PM
    Next time, hook the wires and access panels to about 50,000 volts and let that take care of it. It would save the taxpayers lots of time and money!
  • by Judy Z Location: Colorado Springs on Apr 22, 2011 at 02:53 PM
    Every time I read a headline regarding copper theft, I wonder who buys this product from these thiefs? They must know it is stolen! Shouldn't these guys be arrested right along with the "pole preparers"? I know the police department has their hands full with more pressing matters than copper theft. It is just annoying to me as a taxpayer that we even have to mess with this situation and the police have to use their valuable time to protect our city's property!
    • reply
      by Melanie on Apr 22, 2011 at 04:52 PM in reply to Judy Z
      Well, Judy Z you must have either been born with a golden spoon in your mouth or you are one of the Colorado Springs elite....the reason the theft of copper wiring is messed w/ by the police and Colorado Springs Utilities is that they are try to cut down on the thieves, plus something like this reflects in a round-about way on our utilitiy bills....I know I'm paying my share on utilities and don't want to have to pay anymore than necessary....do you?????????????
      • reply
        by pc on Apr 23, 2011 at 09:35 AM in reply to Melanie
        Got to go with Kirk and Melanie. Unless your,ve been a victim of this sensless crime you have no idea how costly and annoying this is. It does effect your utilities whether your smart enough to figure that out or not. When ever they nab these freeloaders they need to be knock off there feet and pay. TORTURE sounds good for starters. Gertthe lights back on please.
  • by Billy Location: Briargate on Apr 22, 2011 at 02:48 PM
    HAHA LOSERS!!!! GO TO JAIL, GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL!!!! "Hey buddy, we're both losers. Want to go cut some copper out of light poles because we're too stupid to get real jobs or get more education?".... HAHA LOSERS!!!!
  • by Colo Location: C/S on Apr 22, 2011 at 02:32 PM
    One things for sure, they will be assured of three hots and a cot for a while. Thieves!
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