Two Wayne residents were charged with theft after police found more than $2,400 in stolen copper sheets in the back of a vehicle and on the side of the road earlier this week, authorities said.
John Rensing, 21, and John Schneider, 44 were arrested after police found the cooper in the back of the vehicle they were in during a traffic stop on West Belt and Demarest Drive Monday shortly after 10 p.m., an incident report states.
Officer Robert Franco observed the vehicle the men were in make an aggressive U-turn on the roadway, according to the report. Franco conducted a motor vehicle stop and Schneider got out of the vehicle, the report states.
Schneider reportedly told Franco that he was “having engine trouble” and that his vehicle was overheating, the report said. He told Franco he did not have his driver’s license on him, according to the report report.
Franco saw cooper plates in the back seat of the vehicle and asked Schneider where he got them from, according to the report. Schneider told Franco that he works construction and took the copper from a dumpster on a site, the report states.
Franco reported that the cooper sheets appeared new and were all cut to a preset specification.
Schneider then told Franco that he found the copper in the woods while riding his all terrain-vehicle and was returning to retrieve it, the report said.
Franco found a duffle bag full of folded cooper sheets that appeared to have been cut and bent the same way as the other sheets, a black bandana, and a pair of work gloves in the vehicle, the report states.
Police also found more sheets bent near where Franco originally saw the vehicle, according to the report.
Schneider stated that he found the cooper in the woods while playing with his kids in a tree fort he built, according to the report.
The copper belongs to Wilbert Burial Vaults, a court warrant states.
Police found a ski mask and a pair of black gloves in Schneider’s pants and a folding knife in Rensing’s back pocket, according to the report.
In addition to the theft charge, Schneider was issued summonses for making an improper U-turn, failure to display a driver’s license, and driving with a suspended license.
Bail was set at $20,000 each for Rensing and Schneider with no 10 percent option.
The men are due in Wayne Municipal Court Nov. 8.