Copper Stolen from Two Non-Profits

OMAHA (kptm) - Thieves are ripping off copper all over Omaha and it's hurting groups that help others. While there are several unsolved cases, police say they have arrested one person. Now, they're looking for others, including an employee who worked for the Salvation Army.

"He was an excellent worker, one of the best workers that we had and for that to happen, it does hurt, it does hurt," Ryan Zajic, general foreman of the Salvation Army Warehouse says.

Last week he found out one of his employees was stealing copper wire from the business. "It was a sad thing to find out that it was going on, you like to always think the best of your employees and for that to happen was very hurtful," Zajic says.

He says four other employees witnessed the worker taking the copper. "One of the witnesses kind of says that it could've been anywhere from two hundred to three hundred dollars worth every Saturday for a period of close to three months."

A whole container was full of copper wire. They say he was using a crowbar to fish the copper wire from a two-inch slit on top of the container. "You do something long enough, you're going to get caught, eventually," Zajic says.

He says he knows from experience. "I was a meth addict from the age of 13 years old and all I did was commit crimes, steal and in and out of jail and prison until three years ago when I came to the salvation army."

He joined their adult rehabilitation program. After graduating he started working in the warehouse. The employee accused of stealing the copper also graduated from the program. Major Laurence McPherson with the Salvation Army says, "it's unfortunate, we feel bad, I feel bad about that because you're wanting to make this person's life turn around help them out and somehow they just have not caught on yet to what can really be a great thing for them, for their families."

And even though he says he's disappointed with the employee's actions, he still has faith the man will someday turn his life around. "It's disheartening when you see someone fail like this, but they are issues they have to deal with and will we give this individual a chance again? I believe we would, we are dealing with forgiveness here," McPherson says.

Police say they have not yet taken the man into custody.