Two men have been arrested in connection to a copper theft from a Wichita construction company.

Deputies arrested a 41-year-old man and 18-year-old man Friday at their home in Wichita on suspicion of a felony theft. The sheriff's department said the suspects are wanted for stealing 3,200 feet of copper wire from Cornejo Construction earlier this month.

The suspects remain jailed on $150,000 bond each.


Sedgwick County authorities are looking for a suspect accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a Wichita construction company.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office said the theft occurred on Cornejo Materials, Inc. Property, 3500 N. West St., between Oct. 18 and Nov. 4.

"They entered the property by breaking down a fence," said Steve Lawler, GM of Cornejo and Sons. "We think they used four wheelers and tied cables to it and pulled it across into the big ditch and loaded it on to another piece of equipment."

The thief stole 3,200 feet of wire from a storage area. One that wasn't monitored by surveillance cameras.

Lawler says the value of the copper is between $30,000-$40,000 on the black market, but the loss to the company is valued at $100,000. The cables weighed around 10 tons, with 5-7 tons being copper.

"Wichita has some policies and procedures in place, but once you get out of the city you can pretty much sell it anywhere," said Lawler. "As an industry, we would like to see those policies tightened up so the sale of the copper isn’t as easy. If there would be more questions asked and maybe some of this would be stopped."

Other Wichita companies feel the same way. Doug Harding, GM of All-Metal Recycling said stricter regulations across the state might deter thieves from stealing valuable metals.

"If the legislation were a little stricter then they would have to go further, even outside of Kansas to sell it," said Harding. "I would like to see the state of Kansas be uniform to what we have in Wichita."

He says in Wichita and Sedgwick County, metal buyers have to document each purchase by getting a copy of the sellers valid ID, writing down their vehicle's tag numbers and only paying with a check.

"At the end of everyday we have to email our transaction list to the Wichita Police Department for their review on every transaction that has to do with any specially regulated metals, which copper is a specially regulated metal."

Anyone with information in the crime is asked to call the Sedgwick County sheriff's office at 316-660-5300.