More than three tons of copper were stolen in Richland County by just one person, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Tuesday.
This is not a small crime, Lott said at a press conference announcing the arrests of three people in copper thefts in the county.
Calling copper and other metal thefts a serious epidemic, Lott said there were 536 cases of copper thefts in 2010 in the county.
So far this year, deputies have dealt with 168 cases, slightly down from last year.
Lott identified the three who were arrested as Isaac Tucker, 21, charged with larceny; Carwin Pettis Jr., 24, unlawful transportation; and Jerry Preston Wider, 31, unlawful transportation.