Fresh footprints in the snow lead investigators to man accused of cutting copper from trucks

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - A man was arrested for allegedly cutting copper from Norfolk Southern trucks in December, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Richard Aguilera, 28, was charged with misdemeanor theft and felony theft with a prior conviction. 

On December 27, an officer with the St. Joseph County Police Department responded to a business on County Line Road for a theft report.

The business owner who made the report said someone took items from the trucks he was working on and cut copper from the trucks, reports said.

The missing copper had black plastic casing on it.

Employees said wire conduit was also missing.

The business owner found fresh footprints and drag marks from a sled near the trucks.  

He followed those prints and drag marks to an address on Front Street in New Carlisle.

Surveillance footage at the business captured a still of the suspect's face clearly.

After seeing a still of the suspect, a chief from the New Carlisle Police Department said the suspect "closely resembled" Richard Aguilera, reports said.

The chief had been in contact with Aguilera a week prior and said Aguilera was wearing the same clothing as the suspect in the surveillance footage, reports said.

Aguilera also lives on Front Street, the chief said.

A search warrant was executed in the 400 block of Front St. and Aguilera was detained.

During the search, investigators found the same clothes and backpack seen in the surveillance footage as well as 100 feet of wire conduit and black plastic wire casing in garbage cans directly behind the home, according to police.

The business owner confirmed the casing and conduit were the same as those missing from his property.

Aguilera allegedly admitted to going through the trucks.

He has a recent conviction for theft.

Aguilera is being held on a $2,000 cash bond.

He is due in court on January 26 for his initial hearing.

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