Employee charged with stealing copper wire, selling it to scrap yard

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A 31-year-old construction worker who stole two spools of copper wire and then sold them to a scrap yard, was detained Thursday, deputies said.

Steven Popadak

The man – identified as Steven Popadak – was the last person seen with the copper wire after his boss instructed him to store the material on his work truck, reports show. In November, Popadak sold the items to Mr. Scrap Inc. junk yard in Gifford for $70, deputies said.

Deputies arrested Popadak, of the 7300 block of 20th Street, Vero Beach, on charges of dealing in stolen property and giving false information to a secondary metals recycler. Popadak was released Friday from the Indian River County Jail on $15,000 bond.

Indian River County deputies spoke with a Primoris Distribution Services manager about 11 a.m. Thursday at Harmony Reserve, 3584 Diamond Leaf Drive. Employees stored the equipment – needed for a gas installation job – at the location, reports show.

The manager told deputies he noticed two spools of copper wire were missing on Wednesday. The 10-gauge copper wires had yellow insulation marked with the words “Kris Tech Wire Co.,” reports show.

Popadak told the manager he stored the items in the woods, which was false, deputies said. Another employee searched scrap yards in Vero Beach for the missing copper wires.

The employee went to Mr. Scrap and found two spools of copper wire identical to the missing items, reports show. The wires also had the words “Kris Tech Wire Co.” marked on them, deputies said.

The manager and employee identified the wires as the missing items, reports show. The two also said the gas company they are under contract with is the only business that uses this type of copper wire, deputies said.

The owner of Mr. Scrap showed deputies the sale receipt, which had Popadak’s signature, reports show. Popadak denied the claims against him.

Deputies arrested Popadak and took him to the county jail. Popadak has an arraignment at 8:45 a.m. Jan. 3, 2020, court records show.



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