Copper thief sentenced to 15 years in state prison

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A man who pleaded guilty to stealing copper from an electric company in Lewisburg was sentenced on Wednesday last week to 15 years with the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

Danny Eugene McDonald, 49, previously of Ethridge, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler, who consolidated several of the 14 counts of indictment issued in September by the Marshall County Grand Jury against McDonald.

"We lost several thousand pounds of copper, a minimum of $15,000, and it's probably closer to double that amount, according to the price of copper," said Pete Chapman, the victim of thefts at the business that was hit in January, June and July last year.

Chapman "felt constantly violated (and) lost sleep guarding the lot," he said in his victim's statement taken by state officials who prepared a pre-sentence report used by the judge for McDonald's hearing March 5. The crimes "took a mental and physical toll," Chapman said.

McDonald's case file indicates that:

* He was interrupted the day of his most recent theft; the subsequent pursuit resulted in him wrecking his get away vehicle;

* He fled on foot from the vehicle, but was apprehended;

* While he was charged with going to Chapman's business four times, he claims he really only went there three times;

* He sold the copper for scrap so he could buy cocaine.

See Wednesday's Tribune for the complete story.