Thieves steal $500K worth of copper from vacant Austin building

FILE - copper

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over the course of three months this past spring, Austin police say suspects were able to steal nearly half a million dollars worth of copper from a vacant building in east Austin.

According to an arrest warrant, Joshua Troxell, 40, and Michael Gibbs, stole the materials from a building that used to house Motorola semiconductor manufacturing. Police originally identified Troxell as a suspect when they responded to a theft call at the building located on Ed Bluestein Boulevard on June 30. The operations officer of the building told police two men were there with a truck and one claimed he was security. The operations officer also noticed there was a pile of copper material in the back of the suspects’ truck, continued in the affidavit.

When officers arrived, Troxell was arrested but Gibbs was able to get away. At the time of Troxell’s arrest, police say the full extent of the stolen electrical material was not known. As the investigation continued, police determined the damage done to the facility was more than $1 million and could possibly exceed $3 million. An audit of the building showed most of the power rooms had equipment stolen.

Detectives also determined Troxell sold the stolen copper to various scrap yards across Texas. In just the months of May and June, records show Troxell sold 17,386 pounds of copper during 13 visits.

Once arrested on the new charges of felony criminal mischief and theft, Troxell’s bond will be set at $1 million.