Local pair charged in copper heist
Two Clinton residents have been charged with felonies in the theft of a large oil line used on Farmrail locomotives.
The suspects are Robin Harkness, 30, and Vanessa Dewilde, 25. Harkness is charged with grand larceny and Ms. Dewilde with knowingly concealing stolen property.
They are accused in the theft of a three-foot-long oil line from a pallet outside a workshop at the Farmrail offices, 130 E. Frisco Ave. They are believed to have taken the pipe to Weatherford and sold it to Western Oklahoma Metal Recycling at the south edge of town.
Made of copper, the pipe was valued at about $2,500.
It was last seen by employees May 25 and is believed to have been stolen about 2 a.m. May 27. Lt. Luis De La Torre of the Clinton Police Department identified the two defendants, whom he apparently knew by sight, on Farmrail security video.
In an affidavit of probable cause filed with the charges, Detective Capt. Mike Murley said the video showed Harkness and Ms. Dewilde walking around Farmrail property about 2 a.m. on the 27th looking into auto compartments and equipment with a flashlight. They allegedly continued this for about 30 minutes until Farmrail employees pulled up in a vehicle and scared them off.
Captain Murley wrote that he met with two individuals who said they were aware Harkness and Ms. Dewilde had sold scrap metal at the Weatherford business in the past.
The detective went there and met with James Brooks, owner of Western Oklahoma Metal Recycling, and showed him an engineer’s draft of the missing oil line. Brooks recognized it as one he had purchased from Ms. Dewilde and said she had even asked him how they were going to recycle such a large pipe and he told her by cutting it up. He also produced a copy of his purchase receipt along with a copy of Dewilde’s driver’s license.
Murley then met the same day with Dewilde and questioned her about the alleged theft. When asked why she was seen looking in Farmrail offices and buildings at 2 a.m., she stated that Harkness had run out of gas a block away and they were looking for help.
When Murley showed her the engineer’s drawing of the oil line, Dewilde twice denied ever seeing the object. But when the detective told her he had seen it at Western Oklahoma Metal Recycling, she allegedly said Harkness had asked her to take it there and sell it for him.
Later the male suspect was interviewed and essentially told the same story Ms. Dewilde had started with – that they had run out of gas near the Farmrail offices and were looking for a gas can.
But when asked about Dewilde selling the oil line to the recycler, Murley said Harkness stated that they were on their way to Weatherford when they saw it lying near a bridge on Gary Boulevard. The male suspect said Dewilde stopped and he picked up the pipe. and they then went on to Weatherford where she sold it and split the money with him.