Copper wire thief gets 10-year prison term


POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2009

The accused ringleader of a group that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of copper wire from freeway lighting systems was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

James B. Taylor, known among his friends as Freeway Jimmy,  was charged with criminal conspiracy, first-degree theft, racketeering and money laundering.

He pleaded guilty in April and was sentenced today by Circuit Judge Karen Ahn.

Prosecutors said Taylor’s theft ring stole more than $500,000 worth of copper wire along the H-1 and H-2 freeways between 2005 and last year causing sections of the freeway to go dark.

Members of the ring sold the copper for $144,800 in 478 transactions, according to the state.