The last few months, The Mississippi Department of Transportation has experienced theft of copper electrical wire from high-mast and other interstate lighting systems on I-20, I-220, and I-55.
According to a news release from MDOT, Enforcement officials suspect someone has been connecting a vehicle or pulley to the wire at one pole and pulling the wire through from several other nearby poles. These thefts resulted in the interstate lights not working and an unnecessary expense to the tax-payers, and is a dangerous practice for the thieves.
A district MDOT employee observed a small red pickup truck on I-20 near I-220 with copper wire attached to the truck and wire stretching across the interstate from a light pole on July 12.
The pickup truck left the scene with the wire trailing behind in an effort to get away.
The employee stayed in distance of the suspect and called 911 while doing so.
MDOT Law Enforcement officers were contacted and responded to the scene.
According to MDOT, The fleeing vehicle exited I-20 north on University Boulevard, pulling into a parking lot near the intersection of Raymond Road and University Boulevard. The MDOT employee observed the driver and passenger exit the vehicle with the driver walking away to the convenience store. The passenger was physically disabled and remained with the vehicle.
An MDOT Enforcement Officer arrived at the convenience store and exited his vehicle to talk with the driver. As the officer approached, the suspect fled east across University Boulevard into a wooded area parallel to Lynch Creek.
Jerry L. Evans was located and arrested in an abandoned motel on Highway 80 in Jackson.
It was revealed that Evans has no address and has a warrant from Hinds County for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender.
He is was transported to the Hinds County Raymond Detention Center for the Hinds County warrant, Simple Assault on a Police Officer, Felony Theft, and Resisting Arrest.
The investigation of copper thefts is ongoing and more arrests are expected to be made.
“This type of criminal activity endangers the safety of the public,” said Commissioner Dick Hall, chair, Mississippi Transportation Commission. “The action of the MDOT district employee and enforcement officer is commendable.”